Venice aims to be the team to beat in Western League football

Angelo Gasca of Venice is the quarterback whisperer. He develops top quarterbacks, and his latest pupil is 6-foot-5 senior Paul Kessler, who passed for 1,561 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior.

Combine him with talented returning running back Robert Lamar and outstanding receiver Rashawn Jackson, and Venice has the makings of an offense that will be able to score lots of points.

The Gondoliers are aiming to win the Western League. Their experience makes them the co-favorite with Hamilton.

Gasca begins his 23rd season as head coach at Venice and 33rd year at Venice. That kind of stability has helped the Gondoliers remain competitive and be a program to admire in the community.

Lamar also will be a key player on defense at linebacker. One of the best athletes at Venice is Romeo Signore, a three-year starter and All-City player at running back and strong safety. He’s also the kicker, plays soccer, runs track and has a 4.0 grade-point average.

Venice opens the season at home on Aug. 26 against Harvard-Westlake and has nonleague games against San Pedro, Crespi and Paramount before opening league play on Sept. 30 against Fairfax.

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