The largest crowd of Santa Monica High’s football season saw Max Monbouquette’s finest game.
The Vikings’ middle linebacker had 20 tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery in a 33-0 victory over Morningside High Friday night, October 12.
It was homecoming, the stands at Corsair Field were filled, and Samohi avenged a 27-6 loss to Morningside last year that wrecked its playoff hopes.
Monbouquette was prominent on Samohi’s freshman team as a ninth grader, a star on the junior varsity as a sophomore and all-Ocean League in his varsity debut last season.
“He’s been good, he didn’t come out of nowhere, but this is the best he’s played,” said Samohi Coach Zach Cuda. “Morningside had run the ball effectively in other games but he didn’t give them a chance.”
Asked about Monbouquette’s attributes, Cuda replied: “My brother Conrad, our defensive coordinator, has worked with him for three years. Max is very coachable. They watch a lot of film. Max understands defense and on the field he reacts quickly.”
At 6-foot-2, 220, Monbouquette is undersized in the eyes of Division 1 scouts and hasn’t been besieged with scholarship offers. But with consistently outstanding performances he’s begun to attract some interest.
Samohi won the coin toss and elected to receive although most teams defer in order to get the ball to start the second half.
The idea was that Samohi wanted to take the lead and force Morningside to pass rather than run. As the game developed Morningside didn’t do anything well on offense.
By contrast, Samohi gained 340 yards, divided almost equally between running and passing. Vince Lawrence came back from a one-week absence due to a sprained ankle and shared running back duties with Christian Ross, formerly a defensive back who had filled in with 185 yards in a loss to Los Alamitos. Now Cuda is so happy with the pair they’re likely to continue sharing the position.
Quarterback Ryan Katz had another good game, which included a 15-yard scoring run.
Lawrence had the game’s first touchdown from three yards out. The second came on a sensational 81-yard interception return by John Dunn, who caught the ball, reversed his field, and outran the defenders.
Before the rout was concluded Adi Adeyemi returned an interception for a touchdown too. It was particularly satisfying for him because he was the defender on a play last season when Morningside scored a touchdown.
Travis Henry, the Morningside quarterback, completed only nine of 26 passes this time.
After playing six consecutive home games Santa Monica will be on the road Friday night, playing at Beverly Hills.
The Normans have been an Ocean League power the last few years, but they started this one with three losses in four games, due in part to injuries. However, Beverly Hills won its league opener Friday, October 12 over Hawthorne, 49-7.
It retains running back Raymond Judkins and quarterback Dex Lucci, important weapons from their winning seasons. And Kenny Bassett is another outstanding runner.
Both Samohi and Beverly Hills are eyeing CIF playoff berths. The league will have three, but one is likely to go to Culver City, which has a 6-0 record. Of the other three teams Morningside has had the best early season success.
Santa Monica’s overall record is 4-2, with the losses coming against Venice and Los Alamitos.