The head coach is dismissed; the team loses its first game, and then is routed in its second game.
But optimism remains for the football season at Santa Monica College.
’We have a lot of talent and good camaraderie,” says sophomore tackle Charlie Poland. “I believe in our new coach, the assistants and my teammates.”
Poland, the former Santa Monica High star, and guard Mario Gomez are veterans on the offensive line. Sophomore quarterback Zack Scribner from Lighthouse High in Santa Monica has produced some impressive passing statistics. But the running game hasn’t been effective yet.
SMC lost its opener to Orange Coast College, 44-28 and was defeated by Cerritos, 66-2 after Robert Taylor was dismissed as coach and Gifford Lindheim replaced him.
Lindheim, a former Venice High assistant, was hired just two weeks before the first game. All the assistants were retained.
Taking over a program in disarray on short notice isn’t an ideal way to start.
“The coach is doing his best and we’re still receiving excellent instruction,” said Poland. “Our offensive line coach is Willie Rowe, who used to play for the New Orleans Saints.
“But, realistically, the change in the program has probably hurt us a little.”
SMC scored an early safety against Cerritos and narrowly missed on a pass that would have tied the game at 9-9. But when that touchdown didn’t materialize the momentum moved solidly in Cerritos’ favor.
SMC will have its home opener Saturday night, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m.
Poland is focusing on this season but has had discussions with several Division 1 schools.
“I love to play football and want a good education, so I’ll be going somewhere next year,” he said.