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No. 7 Serra-San Mateo has the skills, but will Padres respond up front?

Loaded with backs and receivers, the 2021 Northern California Open Division representatives play five Top 50 in the regular season.

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school football teams in California ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the Serra Padres from San Mateo of the CIF Central Coast Section, the No. 7 team in our countdown.

SERRA FOOTBALL HOME PAGE | 2022 SCHEDULE

HEAD COACH

Patrick Walsh

  • 22nd season
  • Overall record: 171-69-1
  • Championships: WCAL (eight), Central Coast Section (six), Northern California (four), State (one, 2017).

2021 SEASON AT A GLANCE

  • Overall record: 11-2
  • WCAL record: 6-1 (second place)
  • Points scored (allowed): 429 (209)
  • Won CCS D1 title (16-12 over Saint Francis), awarded NorCal Open bid, lost to national No. 1 Mater Dei (44-7) in state finals.

2022 SCHEDULE

(all games 7 p.m. unless noted)

  • Aug. 26 at Folsom
  • Sept. 2 at De La Salle, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
  • Sept. 10 vs. Central Catholic, 1:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 23 at Saint Francis
  • Sept. 30 vs. Mitty, 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 7 at Bellarmine at SJCC
  • Oct. 15 at Riordan, 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 22 vs. Valley Christian, 1:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 28 at St. Ignatius
  • Nov. 5 vs. Sacred Heart Cathedral, 2 p.m.

IMPACT PLAYER GRADUATED

  • RB-WR Hassan Mahasin (San Diego State)
  • OT Nathan Elu (Oregon State)
  • OT Drew Azzopardi (San Diego State)
  • RB Petelo Gi (WCAL RBOY)
  • QB Dominique Lampkin

STARTERS RETURNING

  • 4 on offense
  • 4 on defense

IMPACT PLAYERS TO WATCH

TE/DE Seamus Gilmartin — Sr. — 6-4, 215

Offers: Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah State

Coach talk: “One of hardest workers on the team. Big matchup problem.”

OL/DL Ryan Silver — Sr. — 6-4, 300

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Commitment: San Diego State

Coach talk: “Obviously he’s got the size and strength but his main trait is he loves to be physical. He’s got a nasty streak on the field.”

WR/S Joey Villaroman — Sr. — 6-2, 180

Coach talk: “He didn’t play a down last season because of an ACL tear. He started all as a sophomore. So excited to have him back.”

WR Jayden Weber — Sr. — 509, 160

Coach talk: “Great slot receiver. Will be one of our main targets.”

LB/RB Jabari Mann — Jr. — 5-11, 180

College offers: Pittsburgh, San Jose State

FS/RB Joseph Bey — Jr. — 6-0, 175

College offers: Arizona State, PIttsburg, San Jose State

Coach talk: “He can really come up and hit. He’s super smart and the quarterback of the defense. He knows all 11 positions.”

QB Maealiuaki Smith — Jr. — 6-4, 200

College offers: 8 including Arizona, Colorado, Florida State, Washington and Louisville.

Coach talk: “He’s proficient with a great arm. We’re good at this position. Four quarterbacks are fighting for the starting job.”

DE Sam Goligoski — Sr. — 6-4, 200

Coach talk: “Very focused. Strong. Plays with a high intensity. Has really improved.”

NG Timo Poloka — Jr. — 6-0, 260

Coach talk: “Tough, rugged player. Does not back down.”

RB-LB-DB Marley Alapati — Jr. — 5-11, 200

Transfer from: De La Salle

Coach talk: “He’s fantastic. We have so much depth at running back — we have six kids who can really play — he might focus most on defense. He can play anywhere on that side of the ball. Very versatile.”

WR-DB Kyon Loud — Jr. — 6-1, 175

Transfer from: Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland

REGULAR-SEASON GAME(S) OF THE YEAR

There are always more than a couple to circle in the rugged WCAL, but the first two on the nonleague schedule are definitely noteworthy.

In fact, the opener at Folsom and second game at De La Salle are against the No. 8 and 9 teams in SBLive’s Top 50, respectively. Considering the Padres are No. 7, much will be learned early.

The game Sept. 2 at De La Salle will renew a longtime rivalry between the Padres and Walsh’s alma mater. The teams played 10 straight years starting in 2005, all won by De La Salle. This year’s game will be on ESPN.

A third juggernaut to open the season is small-school state power Central Catholic-Modesto, which is ranked No. 34. The Raiders have won four state titles. Add in league rivals Bellarmine (No. 48) and No. 21 Saint Francis and the Padres boast five Top 50 teams on their schedule.

BEST-CASE REGULAR-SEASON SCENARIO

9-1

If this was a 7-on-7 schedule, the Padres would no doubt figure to go 10-0. They are loaded at the skill spots, according to Walsh. Serra was undefeated this summer before losing on the final drive to No. 13 Pittsburg, which also has a plethora of skill players.

Problem with Serra — and Pitt for that matter — is a lack of experience on the offensive line. And that is where De La Salle flourishes. Having the two openers on the road doesn’t help either.

MOST LIKELY SCENARIO

8-2

Once the line develops and the attrition takes place — the Padres have a staggering 84 on the roster — Serra should be in place for another big state bowl appearance. They got a shot to get back to the Open Division (not that they would want it). But we expect them to make a return visit to Saddleback College in one of the top five bowl games.

COACH TALK

“We have the numbers, the athletes and the spirit to get it done and reach great heights. Where the rubber meets the road is the development of the offensive line. I’m confident our linemen will meet the challenge head on. So will the rest of the Padres.”

— Patrick Walsh