While the Santa Monica High School Vikings football team seemed to have the right answers against the Beverly Hills High School Normans in the first half, Vikings coach Mike Burnett said one solution missing in the second half was how to stop the Norman running attack.
Santa Monica’s 24-17 halftime lead slipped away in the first drive of the second half and the Vikings never got it back, as Beverly Hills ran its way to a key 52-36 Ocean League victory over the visiting Vikings Friday, November 4th.
The Norman comeback began with 21 unanswered points and a fierce rushing performance by sophomore running back Ramon Judkins, who picked up 183 yards on the ground in the second half.
“They were able to run against us,” Vikings coach Mike Burnett said. “We couldn’t stop the running game. They’re a good football team and we had a hard time stopping them.”
The victory keeps the Normans (8-0-1, 4-0) on top in the league and in good position to win the outright league title if they have a victory over Culver City High Friday, November 11th.
Although Santa Monica (7-2, 3-1) was knocked out of the outright league-crown race, the Vikings can still earn a share of the title if Culver City defeats Beverly Hills.
The Vikings had a strong offensive showing in the first half to take the early edge, but their defensive injuries and struggle against the Beverly Hills rushing performance took a toll in the second half, Burnett said.
“Our defense needed to stop the run,” said Viking sophomore running back E.J. Woods, who finished with ten carries for 95 yards and three touchdowns.
“We did not put enough pressure on them and all the momentum shifted to them.”
Beverly Hills came out running from the start of the second half and picked up three of its five second-half touchdowns off of rushing plays.
Judkins, who led the Norman rushing attack with 22 carries for 255 yards and four touchdowns, tied the score at 24-24 with a one-yard run in the middle of the third quarter.
The Normans then grabbed their first lead of the game in their next drive after a 65-yard touchdown run by Judkins.
Santa Monica was ready to respond, but a 63-yard kickoff return for a score by senior Daniel Lock was called back due to a penalty.
The Vikings’ troubles continued when Beverly Hills senior Tyler Grady returned a Santa Monica fumble 48 yards for a touchdown to stretch the lead to 38-24.
Santa Monica was able to stop the Norman rally temporarily and climbed to within 38-30 when Woods ran 16 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
But Santa Monica’s score did not affect the Normans’ momentum, as Beverly Hills picked up two more touchdowns after a 31-yard run by Judkins and a 16-yard pass by junior quarterback Meyer Linter, who finished 11-of-16 for 98 yards.
Woods added one last Santa Monica touchdown on a 15-yard run with 3:43 remaining in the game, but it was not enough to overcome the Beverly Hills lead.
“They came out with it and we didn’t,” Viking senior tight end Christoff Neuman said of the Norman second-half effort.
“We let them get it.”
After both teams traded touchdowns in their first two drives of the first quarter, Santa Monica managed to come out on top before halftime.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard in the opening drive of the game, courtesy of a five-yard touchdown run by senior Chapin Herman.