Just when the Santa Monica High football team needed a breather from a tense, depressing environment, along came a struggling Palisades High team to provide it.
Winning one game convincingly won’t greatly minimize the Vikings’ concern over the condition of teammate Cody Williams, who suffered a cervical spine injury in the opening game against Leuzinger and remains at UCLA’s Reagan Medical Center.
But in a week when the topics were fundraising for Williams, concern throughout the student body and counseling made available for anyone in the Viking family who needed it, an easy victory was welcomed.
Samohi scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and coasted to a 35-0 win.
The game was used as an opportunity to sharpen the Vikings’ running game, which had been so ineffective in the opening loss.
Brandon Taylor scored three first quarter touchdowns and his backup, Shane Jones, was effective later.
Samohi won’t have the luxury of a similar tune-up this Friday night when Venice high provides the opposition at Corsair Field.
Venice has won its first two games impressively. The Gondoliers have a 41-33 home win over West Covina and a 49-14 rout at Muir.
Taylor is a 5-foot-11, 196-pound junior. His running sparked Samohi early and then senior quarterback Garrett Safron made some plays that demonstrated his progress since last season.
Safron reversed his field on one play when his receivers were covered and picked up speed as he moved downfield. On another play he was rushed but was able to launch a long pass that was completed as he was driven to the ground.
He’s a maturing quarterback who’s a much different player than early last season when he was merely managing an offense that featured power running.
Chris Featherstone had several key plays and is clearly an important Viking receiver.
On defense, Luke Zelon was a major factor as Samohi moved a week past a flu epidemic.
The win was Travis Clark’s first as the Vikings’ head coach. He took over this season after Zach Cuda coached the team the last three years.