Sixteen penalties against Santa Monica High School in the first half didn’t prevent the Vikings from running all over the field to hand visiting St. Monica a 28-6 non-league defeat Friday, October 1st.
In only the second meeting between the two Santa Monica high schools, Santa Monica got its revenge and left Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field with a decisive victory.
St. Monica won 19-15 in the schools’ first battle last year.
After finishing with a 0-9-1 record last year, the Vikings have improved to a 2-2 record this season.
The St. Monica Mariners fell to a 1-3 record.
The Mariners may have taken the glory away from an inexperienced Santa Monica team last year, but the Vikings proved that they have brushed aside any memories from last season.
“This is what we worked for and thought about for a long time,” Viking coach Michael Burnett said.
“We’ll use this to build for league play.”
Sophomore running back Lewis Adeyemi owned the first offensive drive of the game for Santa Monica as he carried the ball seven straight times.
Adeyemi, who finished with 14 carries for 76 yards, capped the 53-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Vikings ahead 7-0.
The Mariners wasted no time responding with a score in their first offensive drive, after senior quarterback Mitch Smith connected with wide receiver Jeremy Brooks for a 22-yard touchdown pass.
St. Monica was stopped in a two-point conversion attempt, keeping the score 7-6 with 6:53 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings kept their next drive alive when junior running back Daniel Locke, who finished with two touchdowns, picked up four yards on a fourth-and-three play.
A 25-yard field goal attempt by the Vikings to end the nine-minute drive was lost after a fumbled hike.
St. Monica was unable to respond after a loss of downs in the next possession. The Santa Monica defense put pressure on Smith all night, including an interception by Kris Ulloa in the Mariners’ last drive of the half.
Although the Vikings racked up penalties in the first half, the team headed into halftime narrowly ahead 7-6.
“We made adjustments in the second half and we tried to contain Smith in the pocket,” Burnett said.
The Vikings did just that as St. Monica continued to have trouble executing its passing game in the second half.
Santa Monica’s offense, on the other hand, went into high gear and picked up three more rushing touchdowns after halftime.
Locke got things started for Santa Monica with a 50-yard run that set up his first touchdown of the night on a one-yard run with 3:57 left in the third quarter.
Junior running back Michael Henley, who finished with 23 carries for 152 yards rushing, kept up the scoring momentum for the Vikings with a touchdown of his own on a two-yard run, which strengthened the team’s lead to 21-6.
“The win means a lot,” Henley said. “We said in the beginning we were going to come out hard and have a good game and we did. I came back from halftime hard on my feet and everyone played hard.”
St. Monica was forced to punt in nearly all of its second-half drives, and the Mariners’ passing game was unable to make a strong presence in the second half after Smith finished 11-of-33 for 136 yards passing in the game.
“I couldn’t get protection for my quarterback,” Mariners first-year Coach Jason Strouse said. “I feel that passing is our strength, but we’ve had problems with the defense all season. Their offensive line was in better condition and I think that’s where the game was won.”
Locke, who had 113 yards rushing in the game, put the finishing touches on a dominating running performance by the Vikings, after he scrambled around the field for a 24-yard touchdown run with 6:28 remaining.
“We have three terrific running backs and they’re all underclassmen, but I have to give the offensive line credit because they opened up holes,” Burnett said.
“We’re learning how to win and tonight was more decisive. Each stage, we’re getting better.”
IN OTHER GAMES:
Westchester High School was behind only 14-6 to Crenshaw High at halftime, but the Comets never got closer as they were handily defeated 47-6 in a non-league game at home Friday evening.
After opening the season with a 32-27 victory over Morningside, the Comets (1-3) have suffered their third straight loss.
Westchester challenged the Cougars (3-1) in the first half when senior running back Brian Jackson, who had 17 carries for 36 yards rushing, put the Comets in the game with a six-yard touchdown run.
It was the only time the Comets would go on the scoreboard, as they tallied only 44 yards of total offense in the game.
The Crenshaw defense intercepted Westchester five times in the second half, and the Cougars bolted ahead with 27 points in the third quarter.
The Comets will next host Fremont High School at 7 p.m. Friday, October 8th.
St. Bernard High School was ahead until late in the third quarter, but two key interceptions by El Segundo High led to a 17-6 non-league loss for the host Vikings Friday evening, keeping the team winless this year.
St. Bernard dropped its record to 0-4 this season after going 8-4 last year.
The Vikings looked like they might be on their way to their first victory after taking the early lead when senior quarterback Anthony Fernandez connected with wide receiver Reginald Leslie for a 49-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
The Vikings held a 6-3 lead over El Segundo (2-2) with four minutes left in the third quarter, but the Eagles denied St. Bernard’s victory hopes when Pat Rooney intercepted Fernandez and scored on a 60-yard touchdown.
Fernandez, who finished eight-of-23 passing for 169 yards, threw another interception that was also picked off by Rooney and returned for a touchdown, securing the victory for the Eagles.
St. Bernard will seek its first victory this season at Verbum Dei at 7 p.m. Saturday, October 9th.
After dropping their first two games of the season, the Venice High School Gondoliers earned their second-straight victory with a 31-14 non-league win at Granada Hills Friday evening.
The Gondos jumped to the top of the Western League standings with a 2-2 record this year, and kept Granada Hills (0-4) winless.
Venice picked up two touchdowns in the first quarter to take the early lead, but the Highlanders evened the score at 14-14 with a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Highlanders would not add another score the rest of the game, and Venice boosted ahead with 17 points in the second half.
The Gondos will take on Castlemont at home at 7 p.m. Friday, October 8th, for the last game before league play begins Friday, October 15th.