The Santa Monica High School Vikings knew they were capable of this type of victory all along.
As first-year Vikings coach Zach Cuda said, it was just a “matter of getting back on track.”
The Vikings were certainly on track in their Homecoming game at Santa Monica College Corsair Field Friday, October 27th, as they dominated Culver City High School 63-35 to hand the Centaurs their first loss of the season.
After opening Ocean League play with two losses to Morningside and Beverly Hills high schools, Santa Monica (4-4, 1-2) rebounded with authority and kept its playoff hopes alive with the key victory over Culver City (7-1, 2-1).
Senior running back Louis Adeyemi was nearly untouchable against the Centaurs, rushing for a gargantuan 341 yards on 34 carries and six touchdowns.
There was no sign of hesitation for Adeyemi, who recently recovered from injury, as he led the offensive attack of the Vikings that shut down powerful Culver City and its star junior quarterback Darius Banks.
“We came to play,” Adeyemi said.
“The holes were there and I took the opportunities. I knew the injury wouldn’t stop me.”
Cuda, who was pleased to see that Adeyemi is back to being a major force for the Vikings, was quick to describe the running back’s impressive performance versus the Centaurs.
“We don’t call him ‘iron man’ for nothing,” Cuda said.
Adeyemi acknowledged that his team has faced some adversity this season with injuries to key players, but he said the Vikings were not surprised at their commanding performance against a quality Culver City team.
“We knew that this was the type of extent we could play to,” Adeyemi said. “This was the first night that we all brought it together.”
Things came together throughout the night for the Vikings, who scored in nearly every one of their offensive drives, except for the last drive of the second and fourth quarters.
Santa Monica opened the game with a three-yard touchdown run by Adeyemi to take a 6-0 lead that it never gave up.
A 36-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Ryan Katz to senior wide receiver Geo Allen and another eight-yard touchdown run by Adeyemi put the Vikings ahead 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.
The Culver City offense started out slowly but opened the second quarter with its first score on a 26-yard touchdown pass by Banks to senior David Gonzales.
Banks, who is the top-ranked passer in the Southern Section with 2,704 yards this season, led Culver City by completing 22 of 30 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns.
But Santa Monica wasted no time responding in its next drive when a wide-open Allen caught a 58-yard touchdown pass by Katz, who completed nine of 13 passes for 178 yards in the game.
After another Banks touchdown for Culver City, Adeyemi grabbed his third touchdown of the first half on a six-yard run to give Santa Monica a comfortable 35-14 lead at halftime.
The Centaurs looked like they were ready to turn things around at the start of the second half, when senior Damien White returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.
Banks added two more touchdown passes in the third quarter, but for every touchdown Culver City scored, Santa Monica had an answer.
While Culver City managed to cut the Viking lead to 49-35 with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter, Santa Monica continued to do damage on offense and thwarted any late comeback hopes of the Centaurs.
The Santa Monica defense held Culver City scoreless in the fourth quarter with key stops, including a fumble recovery during a Centaur kickoff return and a sack of Banks for a seven-yard loss on third down.
Santa Monica senior running back David Naylor, who contributed 92 rushing yards on 14 carries for the Vikings, closed out the dominating offensive effort with a 15-yard touchdown reception from Katz with five minutes left in the game.
Although the Vikings were able to prove their capabilities with a convincing win over a previously undefeated team, Cuda said his players know they still have some work left if they are going to achieve their preseason goal of reaching the playoffs.
Santa Monica has two games remaining in the regular season and will next face host Inglewood High School in a league game at 7 p.m. Friday, November 3rd.