With Ocean League powerhouses Beverly Hills and Culver City coming to Corsair Field the next two Friday nights, Santa Monica High’s football coaching staff is searching for answers.
A high-profile 35-0 loss to Los Alamitos was followed by a 28-6 loss to Morningside in the league opener Friday, October 13, at Coleman Stadium in Inglewood
“We were uninspired, flat,” said head coach Zach Cuda.
Last season Beverly Hills was league champion while Culver City and Santa Monica also qualified for the CIF playoffs, and the other three teams struggled to win any games. But Morningside and Inglewood are vastly improved, leaving only Hawthorne as a weak opponent.
It’s possible Santa Monica was looking ahead to the games against Beverly Hills and Culver City. But an equally major problem is the Vikings’ absence of a running game due to the sudden absence of E.J. Woods, who transferred to Crespi High, and Louis Adeyemi, who is out with a broken hand.
Samohi has a disappointing 3-3 record, and Cuda is exploring the possibility of changing the offense at this important time of the season.
The last two opponents have dropped linebackers into pass coverage and blitzed quarterback Ryan Katz, taking advantage of the fact Samohi isn’t likely to do much damage on the ground.
Compounding the problem is the absence of Cameron Collins from the offense. Also recovering from a broken hand, the heavily recruited senior missed two games and has played only on defense in the last two while a brace protects the hand.
“He had 17 tackles against Morningside, but he hasn’t played a down on offense,” said Cuda.
“Our style of offense requires a power running back, and we don’t have one. If we change to a shotgun offense we have Geo Allen, and Cameron would be a big part of that if he’s cleared to play offense.”
Cuda said Adeyemi, who was leading the Ocean League in rushing when he went out, has been cleared to return against Culver City. Doctors will determine if he can play against Beverly Hills.
Samohi had only 130 yards against Morningside. The team’s rushing total was 73.
By contrast, Travis Harvey threw three touchdown passes for Morningside, which has a 4-2 record.
Harvey’s last touchdown pass angered Cuda. It came in the final seconds of the game.
“We didn’t call time out and there was only one play left,” said Cuda. “It was a 50-yard pass. That was not appreciated and it will be remembered.”
Regarding the Beverly Hills game, Samohi will try to slow down Raymond Judkins, who gained 200 yards in one half against them last season.
“Beverly Hills is solid again,” said Cuda, “Their philosophy is similar to ours when we have our personnel. They try for balance between running and passing.”
Summing up the state of Samohi football this week, Cuda said, “We’re all frustrated.”