SAMOHI — Santa Monica’s perfect run through the Ocean League didn’t go unnoticed.
Samohi running back Kori Garcia won league Most Valuable Player and linebacker Chris Collins was tabbed MVP on defense.
Garcia and Collins are two of 15 players named to the All-Ocean League in football, it was announced this week.
“What a great year it has been for the program,” said Head Coach Travis Clark, who was selected Coach of the Year. “These guys earned it.”
Making the first team on offense are junior wide receiver Sebastian LaRue, senior offensive lineman Matt Schultz and junior guard Andres Meza.
The first team on defense includes senior defensive back Dylan Muscat, junior linebacker Nick Cardiel, junior nose tackle Pete Breceda and senior defensive lineman Craig Lowe.
Second team offense: senior running back London Lewis, junior offensive lineman Steve Becerra and senior quarterback Christian Salem.
Second team defense: junior defensive back Mathew Rusk-Kosa and senior linebacker Donovan Citrowski.
For good measure, senior wide receiver Anthony “Animal” Hernandez made honorable mention on offense.
The slew of honors follows what some Samohi faithful and observers called a “special season” in which Samohi ran the table in league, finishing the season 9-1 overall and 5-0 in league.
The Vikings followed that with an appearance in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs where they lost to fellow Ocean League member Culver City.
While Samohi finished a game short of playing for its first title in a decade, Clark and company aren’t hanging their heads.
In fact, they are already thinking about next season.
Clark said that a record number of players have been hanging around the weight room just days removed from the disappointing loss to Culver City last Friday.
“They understand this is what it takes,” Clark said of the early vigor. “We want to take the next step and this is how it’s done.”
Clark’s Coach of the Year award comes in his third season leading Samohi.
He downplays any award given to a coach, but said that he was honored to earn the recognition from his fellow Ocean League coaches, who make the selections.
“Nobody expected us to win league,” Clark said. “It was a successful season for everybody [on the team].”
The next step for this year’s team is the recruiting process.
Lane Kiffin, USC’s head coach, was on campus Tuesday to address the status of one of his commits, offensive lineman Chad Wheeler, who missed much of the season with a shoulder injury.
On Wednesday, there were a total of seven recruiters on campus to look at prospects.
Collins, Garcia, Lewis and Muscat have drawn the attention from a number of schools.
“I’m curious to see where these guys end up,” Clark said. “We have some fine football players here.”