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Injuries, Penalties Lead To Samohi Defeats:

With Santa Monica High beginning its Ocean League football schedule Friday night against Morningside at Corsair Field, the normally optimistic head coach Travis Clark is realistic.

“Our offensive line is decimated, we’re not able to protect (quarterback) Garrett Safron and I’m not seeing the passion I’d like to see in the players,” he said.

But Clark searches for optimism and begins to find it.

“Donovan Citrowski ran hard and maybe we’ve found our running back,’ he said.”And I think we can be competitive in our league.”

Clark said the Vikings could have reversed all but one of their four non-league losses.

“Except for Valencia we could have won those games,” he said.

The latest loss came last Friday night at Capistrano Valley, a team Samohi defeated last season. Samohi led at halftime, 7-0, but a succession of penalties marred its chances after intermission in a 28-7 loss.

Clark had said “I can’t live with that” regarding Brandon Taylor’s five fumbles in the first four games. He decided to take a look at sophomore running backs Citrowski and Kori Garcia.

But Garcia, who also plays linebacker, joined the Vikings’ long list of injured players early in the game.

The list includes offensive linemen Austin Ehrlich and Blake Behling and defensive end Jose Perez, among others.

Several offensive linemen have been brought up from the junior varsity, but opponents are crashing through and reducing Safron’s effectiveness.

The only Samohi victory came against Palisades, which has an 0-5 record.

The goal now is to secure one of the Ocean League’s three CIF playoff berths, but the race for those spots appears to be competitive with only Hawthorne being weaker than the rest.

Samohi already has more losses than last season when the record was 8-3.

“I hope our fans and players bring passion to the game Friday,” said Clark. “I know I will.”

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