Coming off its most inspiring performance of the season, the Santa Monica High football team will take on the three-time Ocean League champion Friday night.
Samohi rallied for a 28-27 victory at Beverly Hills, coming back from a 21-7 deficit.
On Friday, Samohi will travel to Culver City.
“It will take our best game to win,” said Samohi coach Travis Clark. “We know Culver City is the cream of the crop in our league. They have great athletes and are well coached.”
Samohi has a 3-4 record. Culver City is 6-1.
Clark hopes his team gathered momentum in the win over Beverly Hills.
When Samohi was behind, 21-7, Keenan Malone blocked a punt and defensive back Jered Onouye returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
The game became tied at 21. Beverly Hills scored again but Onouye blocked the extra point, leaving the Vikings six points behind.
Samohi began the winning drive with four minutes left and reached the Beverly Hills seven-yard-line. But quarterback Garrett Safron was sacked on a third down play at the 20.
Safron then threw a touchdown pass to Chris Featherstone, who was double covered. Jake Schmidt’s conversion kick provided the winning point.
On the winning drive Samohi converted three fourth down plays.
“Garrett didn’t have his best game but he came through in the clutch,” said Clark.
Schmidt came in for praise too.
“He had his best game,” said Clark. His punting was a big factor”.
Malone made a dozen tackles and Clark said Wylie O’Neal and Luke Zelon were outstanding too.
“Our special teams play hasn’t been good but that group was instrumental in this win,” said Clark. “They’re starting to understand what’s involved. Special teams is not the place to rest.”
A couple of key players may influence the outcome at Culver City, Victor Burnett, the Centaurs’ highly recruited linebacker, is injured and unlikely to play. Brandon Taylor, the Samohi running back who was demoted after fumbling five times in the first four games, is back in the game plan.
Taylor, a junior playing in reserve of sophomores Donovan Citroski and Kori Garcia, gained 100 yards against Beverly Hills.
“He understands why he wasn’t playing and he’s working hard to correct his mistakes,” said Clark. “I’m proud of his effort.”