The Ocean League football standings will be decided this weekend, but right now Beverly Hills is the undefeated surprise leader.
It defeated Santa Monica Friday night, 52-38, becoming the first team this season to roll up a high number of points on the Vikings.
Beverly Hills will host Culver City Thursday night and Santa Monica will be at Hawthorne Friday. The CIF will determine playoff seedings on Sunday.
“It’s wide open,” said Santa Monica Coach Mike Burnett. “We could be a No. 2 seed in one possibility or a 1, 2, or 3 if things go another way. I told the players not to worry about it, just focus on our game.
“Beverly Hills was the best team we’ve played. They ran very well against us even though we controlled their passing. We couldn’t make the necessary adjustments.”
Beverly Hills had 250 rushing yards in the second half after both teams scored on their first two possessions for a 14-14 tie. The Beverly lead grew to 52-30 before Santa Monica scored the game’s final touchdown.
“We have to pull ourselves together” said Burnett. “We can’t let down against Hawthorne.”
Beverly Hills is 9-0 overall. Santa Monica has lost to Beverly Hills and Venice and has a 7-2 record. Culver City is also 7-2 with losses to Santa Monica and Point Loma.
The Santa Monica game plan was to come out passing, and sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz did well with 250 yards and one touchdown.
But a kickoff return for a touchdown by sprint champion Daniel Locke was called back and Samohi gave up a score when a fumble was returned for a touchdown.
There were injuries, too. The Vikings were without linebacker Mike Seibold and defensive back Freddie Leslie. And fullback Chapin Herman suffered an ankle injury in the game.
A Samohi highlight was a 47-yard field goal by Jordan Rosenbeck. another highlight was the play of Cameron Collins, who had eight pass receptions.
E. J. Woods scored three touchdowns for Samohi. The third brought the deficit to 38-30. Samohi then recovered an onsides kick, but the play was nullified by a penalty. Instead of having the ball, the Vikings went on defense with poor field position.
Two years ago, Samohi didn’t win a game. Last season the team qualified for the playoffs and finished 6-5. There were high expectations this season and the record is 7-2, but now the best the team can do in the league is tie for the championship. And that will require Culver City to upset Beverly Hills.
There’s also the matter of a powerhouse team emerging in Division 4. St. Bonaventure crushed Ventura last weekend, 62-14, to clearly emerge as the division’s best team.
If any of the Ocean League teams are to win in the playoffs, they would likely encounter St. Bonaventure somewhere along the way.
The last time Santa Monica won a CIF championship was in 2001 in Division 10. The success prompted a move up six notches and now the Vikings have a much tougher chore once the playoffs begin.The Viking program appears to be in solid shape with the varsity and lower level teams all doing well. But with the improved competition the task has become more difficult.