At least Bishop Amat football coach Steve Hagerty can't fault the energy. He can't blame the Lancers' concentration level or even their will to win. For what it's worth, they looked plenty motivated before their humbling 49-14 loss to top-ranked Servite on Friday night.
Amat simply couldn't hang, though, and now must turn a demoralizing five-touchdown loss into a learning experience.
"Even if it's on the humiliation side of things, we're playing a quality team and the CIF champions and that's why they're good," Hagerty said. "That's why we have to expose ourselves to it. It's risky but hopefully it's worthwhile in the end."
It might not get any easier, either. Amat (1-1) is the only Serra League team to have lost so far -- Alemany, Crespi, Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame are each 2-0. Only the top three in the final league standings earn bids to the Pac-5 Division playoffs.
The Lancers, ranked No. 11 in the ESPNLA.com prep football Top 25, have games against La Mirada, Damien, Cathedral and Venice before they start league play.
"We've got a long season ahead of us," Hagerty said. "[Friday night] is not everything. It was an indication but it's not everything."