After winning eight of 10 games, the Santa Monica High football team had high hopes for success in the CIF playoffs.
But the end came quickly November 21 when the Vikings were run out of the playoffs by a Warren High junior who confounded them throughout the first-round game in Downey.
Jesee Callier, who had gained a school record 324 yards in a game earlier this season, exceeded it with 332 including four touchdowns in Warren’s 38-17 conquest of Samohi.
“He was the fastest back we faced this season and incredibly elusive,” said Samohi coach Zach Cuda. “One tackler couldn’t bring him down. He made extra yards after contact and we didn’t get multiple tacklers on him often enough.”
Callier’s performance was especially outstanding considering that for most of the season entire teams didn’t get more than 100 yards against a Samohi defense that was vastly improved from a year ago.
Samohi finished with an 8-3 record and was the only one of three Ocean League teams who failed to advance in the playoffs. First place Culver City and second place Beverly Hills both won their first-round games.
Samohi had hoped to qualify for a second-round game against Bay League champion Mira Costa. Instead, Mira Costa will play Warren.
In defeat, senior Christian Ross ran for more than 100 yards.
Samohi took a 7-0 lead shortly after recovering a first quarter fumble and then held Warren to a field goal. But Callier made a 55-yard touchdown run and Warren scored again to lead at halftime, 17-7.
When Samohi passed more often in the second half, junior quarterback Garrett Safron threw two interceptions, and Callier’s dashes helped give Warren a 38-10 lead. Samohi then scored the game’s final touchdown.
Samohi won its first six games, then lost three of the final five.
“I’m very proud of our players,” said Cuda, “The effort was always there and we accomplished a lot this season.”
There will be no football activity at Samohi until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Then weight training will begin and college scouts will intensify their recruiting efforts.
College letters of intent can be signed at the start of February, and there’s considerable interest in a group of Samohi players headed by lineman Amar Pal and defensive back Jackson Knox.