Zach Cuda has conducted his first spring practice as the Santa Monica High football coach and he thinks the effort was worthwhile.
“There were no big surprises,” said Cuda, who considered that a positive development since Samohi had a coaching transition from Mike Burnett to himself.
When Burnett moved to a coaching job in Virginia, the Viking’s goal became to continue his work in a smooth transition. Continuity was a word heard often.
“There wasn’t a lot different with the defense, so that went well as expected,” said Cuda. “On offense we also stuck to what we do and didn’t get carried away with four-receiver sets to prepare for summer passing leagues.’’
Following the allotted 15 days of spring practice, high school teams annually play in passing leagues – seven on seven with no pads. Some teams go all out to win these games while others, including Samohi, treat them like a practice. Samohi had 25 players participating and everyone played in each game.
Samohi has entered only two passing leagues, a low number, but will play informal games against some formidable opposition about once a week. Samohi did well in the Watts Summer Games, winning six times and losing once.
The summer competition affords junior quarterback Ryan Katz an opportunity to develop his skills. Katz was exceptional last season but is still a young man trying to get better.
“His arm is a little stronger,” said Cuda. “His downfield throws are more accurate. This competition is good for our receivers too because they can see the possibilities on longer throws now.”
Last season Beverly Hills won the Ocean League in close competition with Culver City and Santa Monica.
Beverly Hills recently hosted a summer passing tournament and lost in the championship game to Culver City.
Like Samohi and Katz, Culver City has an outstanding quarterback, Darius Banks, who was a sophomore last season. He is reportedly developing well in summer action. Both Katz and Banks are considered Division 1 talents when they go into college football.
Following is the Samohi 2006 schedule:
Sept. 8 at Hueneme
Sept. 15 home vs. Palisades
Sept. 21 (Thursday) at Venice
Sept. 20 home vs. St. Monica
Oct. 6 Los Alamitos (Veterans Stadium)
Oct. 13 at Morningside
Oct. 20 home vs. Beverly Hills
Oct. 27 home vs. Culver City
Nov. 3 at Inglewood
Nov. 10 home vs. Hawthorne