Although the score looked unforgiving and the stats showed the Santa Monica High School Vikings (2-1) turned the ball over just as many times as they completed a pass (three), head coach Travis Clark was surprisingly upbeat after the 37-0 loss to Mater Dei (4-0) on Friday.
“That’s a top 25 team in the country, No. 3 team in the state of California, I think we did a pretty good job,” Clark said.
Clark said that “pretty good job” was because the defense forced one turnover on downs and five punts to a team that had never punted more than once in a game this season. Also, the Monarchs gave up their first sack of the season when Samo’s Denicio Gonzalez-Drake finally took Chase Forrest to the turf.
“I’m really proud of my boys, I thought my kids came out and fought,” Clark said. “I looked on the tape, watched three games from them this year… and every game, the first quarter was 28-0.
“We gave them 37 points. I think my defense is going to be great this year.”
The problems came on the other side of the ball. After sending back the Monarch offense on their opening possession, Samohi had the momentum. A roughing-the-kicker gave them a first down at their 43-yard-line. But a fumble by running back Kwame Duggins was scooped up by Curtis Robinson, who scampered 32 yards for the game’s first score.
From there, the Monarchs picked off two Viking passes and chipped away at the Samo defense for the final three quarters. Forrest finished with three total touchdowns (two on the ground), including a score on a 26-yard screen pass to Adrian Contreras. But in Coach Clark’s eyes, nothing is lost.
“It hasn’t really affected any of our goals,” Clark said.
“What I like about (this game) is that (my guys) are disappointed in the loss. They’re not disappointed in the score, they’re disappointed because they felt they could play with that team. That’s very encouraging.”