Although Santa Monica High’s football team finished third in the Ocean League, the Vikings were not only accorded a CIF playoff berth, but a playoff path no worse than the league’s top two teams.
Santa Monica must travel to Warren High of Downey for its first round game on Friday night, November 21. But should the Vikings win, their second round opponent would be a lower seed than the teams Culver City and Beverly Hills would have to play.
Culver City, the Ocean League’s first place team, will open the playoffs against Downey. Beverly Hills, the league’s second place team, will open against Chaminade.
Second round match-ups indicate that the CIF was highly impressed with Samohi’s 8-2 overall record despite a tough schedule. Samohi would potentially have a home game against Mira Costa, the No. 4 seed. But Culver City and Beverly Hills would get the division’s highest-rated teams, Palmdale and Alemany.
“We know the game against Warren will be a difficult test and we respect Mira Costa, the Bay League champion,” said Samohi Coach Zach Cuda. “But overall, the CIF was kind to us. We’re a third place team and we wouldn’t have to play one of the top two seeds in the second round. That shows they took into account the difficult schedule we played.”
Included in Samohi’s five non-league wins were games against Leuzinger and Long Beach Jordan.
Samohi completed the regular season with a 49-7 romp over winless Hawthorne on November 14 in a game that was as one-sided as expected.
Samohi had a 35-0 lead at halftime and the starters didn’t play in the second half. Hawthorne didn’t score until the final minute.
Christian Ross ran for 176 yards on 19 carries and scored five touchdowns. Ross has 1,600 yards for the season, thriving as Samohi’s primary runner after Vince Lawrence was injured in the second game.
It was Senior Night at Corsair Field, and two Viking seniors who rarely get the chance to play got in the game long enough to score a touchdown apiece.
Frank Womack had a one-yard touchdown and Abram Martinez scored from six yards out.
Cuda is hopeful Terry Wilson, Darryl James and Wylie O’Neill can return from injuries for the first round game.
Samohi quarterback Garrett Safron was steady again and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Luke Zelon.
Warren High’s offensive philosophy is similar to Samohi – feature the ground game. It has a running back approaching 2,000 yards for the season. “We expect it to be a physical game,” said Cuda.
Inglewood, the Ocean League’s fourth place team, was not invited to the playoffs. It hoped to receive the division’s lone wild card berth, but that went to St. Francis.
A year ago Samohi lost its first round playoff game to Palos Verdes, which was the Bay League champion.