INGLEWOOD, Calif. ‚Äî Morningside football can be tricky.
Number swaps, position platoons and plenty of athleticism are just a few things Santa Monica (2-3 overall) has to deal with as they open Ocean League play at Morningside on Friday.
“I don‚Äôt trust what I see,” Samohi head coach Travis Clark said. “They like to make things difficult to figure out.”
Besides who plays where and what number they have on their backs, Clark said that athleticism is what stands out after watching a couple of games worth of film.
On offense, Morningside likes to stretch the field with two different quarterbacks taking snaps. On defense, they are a ball-hawking group that tries to make plays while a pass is in the air.
As Samohi tries to snap a three-game losing streak and start league play off on a good foot they have some homework to do.
Clark said that he wants to see his squad play with more physicality, something that was lacking during the skid. Facing the likes of Mater Dei, Hart and Valencia and their massive interior linemen tends to do that to a team.
Not to underestimate Morningside (3-2 overall), but they don‚Äôt pose the same physical challenge that the past three weeks have presented, Clark said.
Still, Clark doesn‚Äôt want his Vikings to take the Monarchs for granted.
Senior wide receiver Sebastian LaRue hopes Friday gives Samohi the opportunity to return to the explosive offense that routed Redondo Union and Palisades to begin the season.
“They look athletic and fast,” LaRue said, seconding his coach‚Äôs thought. “But, some of the play is kind of sloppy. If we play down to their level it could be anybody‚Äôs game.”
The league opener couldn‚Äôt have come any sooner for the slumping Vikings. Team morale remains high, but Clark knows that another loss certainly wouldn‚Äôt help their cause to repeat as league champs.
“I try to stay positive, that‚Äôs what I do,” Clark said. “But we need to get back to the things we were doing early in the season.”
Getting back in the win column will be a matter of bottling up Morningside‚Äôs combo at quarterback. Both four-year varsity player Gregory Adams and Justin Lewis get what appears to be equal time under center ‚Äî and both can pass.
Clark knows what to expect from Adams, but Lewis is another story. He noticed his arm strength first, but only the game can reveal what he‚Äôs capable of against Samohi‚Äôs defense, which has given up big numbers the past three games.
“They are dangerous,” Clark said. “And they‚Äôre motivated.”