Santa Monica High got exactly what third place teams get in the CIF football playoffs, a berth under the toughest of conditions.
The Vikings, who have struggled to a 4-6 record, got into the playoffs but will have a difficult first round game Friday night at Palmdale, the Golden League champion.
The terms are well known from the start of the season. Finish first or second in the Ocean League and you get decent treatment. Finish third and you’re sent on the road against a quality team. Finish fourth or lower and you’re not invited.
Culver City and Inglewood are the Ocean League’s first and second place teams. The ones who didn’t make the playoffs were Beverly Hills, Morningside and winless Hawthorne. Last Friday Samohi clinched third place with a 56-0 win at Hawthorne.
Travis Clark, in his first season as the Samohi coach, believes it’s a good experience for his players to make the CIF playoffs under any circumstances. It’s a reward for the seniors and a chance for underclassmen to learn what plaoff games are all about.
Clark is happy that senior stars such as Garrett Safron and Luke Zelon will prolong their high school careers.
The Vikings are playing in the Western Division, where the top-seeded team is Bay League champion Mira Costa.
Palmdale is 8-2 overall and had a 7-0 league record. In recent games it scored 48 points, then 54, then 62.
The winner will have a second round game against the winner of St. Francis and Gahr.