Coming off back-to-back shutouts to end the regular season, the Santa Monica Vikings (7-4) defense delivered another stellar performance Friday night to start the first round of play in the CIF Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
Facing third seeded Channel Islands (5-6), the Vikings forced five turnovers, including a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown en route to a 27-0 blowout victory.
On a night where Samohi’s one dimension offense didn’t produce much, the defense provided all the energy needed by dominating the Raiders from the very first possession of the game.
“We pride ourselves on being able to stop people. That’s what I do, that’s what I teach.” said Samohi head coach Travis Clark. “If you win the turnover margin and the special teams battle then you’re going to win the game.”
From the outset of the game the Vikings defense came ready to play, forcing a turnover on the first pass play of the game. This would be the first of three interceptions on the night for Samohi.
With great field position on their first drive the Vikings were able to turn the interception into three points, kicking a field goal to put them up 3-0 early in the first quarter.
Samohi scored 17 points off the five turnovers, proving that this defense can very well carry them deep into the playoffs.
Following the field goal Channel Islands responded with their only strong drive of the game, converting on two third and long plays that brought them inside the ten-yard line of the Vikings.
The drive would come to a screeching halt though when junior outside linebacker Terrance Jackson made the play of the game by stepping in front of a pass, taking it back to the house for a touchdown.
This proved to be the dagger of the game, giving the Vikings a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. After that the Raiders offense stalled drive after drive, turning the ball over three more times the rest of the way, including two fumbles.
Samohi took a 13-0 lead into halftime, seemingly in control despite being up by only two touchdowns.
On the offense side of the ball senior running back Will Taylor recorded two rushing touchdowns, including a 24-yard dash and scamper to put the finishing touches over the Raiders. His second touchdown of the game made it 27-0 in the fourth quarter.
“This was just one game, we need to come out again next week and continue to work hard if we want to move on,” said Taylor.
The Vikings will now go on the road, as they face a tough opponent in Lompoc who defeated Cathedral in their first game 38-7.
But this is a match-up that head coach Travis Clark is looking forward to very much.
“The way they run the ball, it plays right into our hands,” said Clark. “It’s going to be a tough match-up going up there, but I know my guys will be ready to play.”
Samohi lost the coin flip for home field, meaning the team will make the three-hour drive up to Lompoc to face the Braves on Friday, November 22.