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Samohi Will Play Leuzinger In 2008 Opener:

With the 2007 football season over at Santa Monica High the next order of business is a sixth period weight training class taught by head coach Zach Cuda and his brother, Conrad, the Vikings’ defensive coordinator.

 The returning players will progress toward the 2008 season opener, which has been scheduled against Leuzinger High.

 It figures to be a test. Although finishing fourth in the Bay League this season, Leuzinger was stingy on defense and qualified for the CIF playoffs. It then had a 28-14 second quarter lead over Ocean League champion Culver City before losing in the final 12 seconds, 35-28.

 Samohi will have a group of quality players who will graduate, including Oregon State-bound quarterback Ryan Katz and all-league linebacker Max Monbouquette. But it will have the nucleus of what looks like another competitive team.

 The memories of this season will focus on close losses to strong teams – by three points to Culver City and two points to Beverly Hills. And a loss to Los Alamitos after Samohi led by 13 points in the third quarter. But Cuda points out that five of the seven who received the majority of playing time on the offensive line were juniors.

 “They improved considerably in the weight room last off-season and they should again,” he said. And then they’ll be experienced seniors.”

 Samohi will also have a new quarterback and the early leader is Garrett Safron, who was productive on the junior varsity this season and got into several varsity games in mop-up roles. He’ll be a junior.

 “He ran our scout team this season and we’re encouraged about him,” said Cuda. “He should get some valuable experience next summer in passing leagues.”

 The Samohi junior varsity won the Ocean League, and several of those players are likely to become prominent on the varsity.

 In other news regarding the 2008 schedule, Samohi will again play non-league games against Venice, Palisades, and Long Beach Jordan but will not play Los Alamitos. That matchup was discontinued after two years by mutual agreement.

 Among this season’s seniors, Monbouquette, Taylor Wright, and Adi Adeyemi are expected to keep playing in college.

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