Last week the Santa Monica High football team learned it isn’t the best one in the Ocean League.
Culver City, which has won the league championship three straight years, took a 49-6 lead over the Vikings before settling for a 49-28 win.
However, Coach Travis Clark reminded his team that it can be in good position for a CIF playoff berth by winning its final two regular season games.
Samohi will oppose Inglewood Friday night at Corsair Field. It will be the Vikings’ homecoming game and the final one the team’s seniors will play at home. The following week Samohi will play at winless Hawthorne.
Samohi has a 2-1 league record on the strength of victories over Morningside and Beverly Hills.
“I’d like to make the playoffs without a coin flip, leaving nothing to chance,” said Clark. “It would be a good experience for our seniors.”
Inglewood is a talented team also etueing a playoff berth and is expected to provide quite a challenge.
Clark wasn’t happy with the Vikings’ preparation for the Culver City game or with some early mistakes.
“Several players missed practice for various reasons,” he said. “I was hoping for greater focus.”
Then early in the game Samohi fumbled and was intercepted. The Vikings fell behind at halftime, 21-7, then were blitzed after that.
Late in the game Samohi scored three straight times, with Luke Zelon catching two touchdown passes.
Clark praised Zelon, receiver Mikey Smith and quarterback Garrett Safron, who threw a touchdown pass and ran for two other touchdowns. Safron was 9-for-18 for 223 yards and is completing 63 percent of his passes this season.
Clark said some colleges are showing interest in Safron and several have offered Zelon a scholarship. Zelon is planning a recruiting trip soon to Iowa State.
Samohi is 3-5. Two wins would give the team a 5-5 record, not as good as the 8-3 of last season when Zach Cuda was in his third year as coach but a respectable start in Clark’s reign.
The Vikings were without injured Kori Garcia and Jose Perez against Culver City but the Centaurs were without Victor Burnett, their heavily-recruited linebacker.
Clark expressed hope that Garcia can play against Inglewood.
If not, Donovan Citroski and Brandon Taylor will be the primary ball carriers. Against Culver City Taylor fumbled for the sixth time this season.