You can watch a lot of football games and not see an 82-yard scoring play.
But Santa Monica High had one in its 44-21 victory over Inglewood on Friday night, November 2 at Corsair Field.
Taylor Wright took a short pass from Ryan Katz, broke free from the Sentinel defenders, and outraced them into the end zone.
It was one of the longest scoring plays in Samohi history.
Wright is a senior and described by Coach Zach Cuda as one of the team’s veteran players who held the squad together following heartbreaking losses to Beverly Hills and Culver City by a total of five points the previous two weeks.
“They’re a mature group and were well aware of the situation,” said Cuda.
He meant the older players made sure the younger ones realized that Samohi still had a lot to play for, including the possibility of earning a playoff berth, even though the Vikings can’t win the Ocean League championship.
The idea was to stay focused against one of the league’s weaker teams.
Samohi did that and was so far ahead that Cuda was able to remove his starters late in the third quarter with a 41-7 lead.
Christian Ross ran for 129 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Katz threw four touchdown passes – two to Wright and two to John Dunn.
Overall, Samohi gained 410 yards and succeeded in shutting down David Freeman, Inglewood’s star runner.
Among the spectators was Cameron Collins, one of Samohi’s premier players last season who is currently redshirting at Oregon State. He was in town with the Beavers for their game against USC the next night.
Samohi’s task Friday night, November 9 will be the same against Hawthorne, which hasn’t won a game this season but has shown some spark lately.
“We played them last year when they were also 0-9 and they were a determined team,” said Cuda. ‘‘From what we’ve seen, they’re still trying hard.”
Hawthorne got off to a fast start last week against undefeated league leader Culver City but then faltered in a 50-13 defeat.
Before the week ends Samohi will learn its playoff fate. If there’s a tie for second place a coin flip will determine who gets in and who doesn’t.
Knowing that point differential won’t be a factor, Cuda was able to remove his starters and not run up the score on Inglewood.