BEVERLY HILLS ‚Äî Beverly Hills football is 0-6 heading into the annual Ocean League clash with rival Santa Monica on Friday.
Beverly Hills has a new coach.
What matters is that these two schools don‚Äôt like each other much and anything can happen when they hit the field under the lights in Beverly Hills.
Coming in as the favorite, Samohi (3-3 overall, 1-0 Ocean League) has the confidence, but also the worry that Beverly Hills could make their whole season with a win over the Vikings on their homecoming.
Samohi head coach Travis Clark called the scheduling a little “disrespectful.” Most schools try to line up lesser teams on homecoming, but not Beverly Hills.
During a recent phone interview, Clark entered the Samohi locker room before practice and asked his team out loud, “Do you guys know it‚Äôs Beverly Hills‚Äô homecoming?”
With a resounding roar, the entire group whooped and hollered and let out a collective “yes.”
It‚Äôs that kind of rivalry.
Giving Beverly Hills a little more hope is the fact that Samohi enters the game with more than a few injuries.
Defensive lineman Noah Anderson is out with concussion symptoms. Fellow defensive lineman Paul Morganroth is questionable with a knee injury. There‚Äôs also question marks on the offensive side with running back and team spark plug Will Taylor and lanky wide receiver De‚ÄôJai Whitaker dinged up and potentially sidelined.
Regardless of injury, Taylor said he and his boys will be ready for Beverly Hills.
“We‚Äôre hungry,” Taylor said. “We‚Äôre excited for all these games in league. We‚Äôre ready to compete.”
Beverly Hills is hungry, too. Hungry for the first win in new head coach Charles Stansbury‚Äôs tenure.
After watching game film on the Normans, Clark said he‚Äôs impressed by the system Stansbury is trying to install.
Beverly Hills is similar to Samohi in that they like to pound the ball with the running game to set up deep balls down field. And if that isn‚Äôt there, the Normans‚Äô quarterback, Zack Bialobos, isn‚Äôt afraid to tuck the ball and scramble for big gains.
“This is going to be an interesting game,” Clark said. “It‚Äôs no walk in the park.”
Despite the recent rash of injuries for Samohi, Clark believes the Vikings are deep enough at defensive line to absorb the loss of Anderson and the possible loss of Morganroth.
Guys like Kavoisiea Ford, Freddie De La Cruz and Ben Kerr have made the rotation at defensive line pretty stout.
“It‚Äôs the strength of the football team,” Clark said. “They anchor this team.”
Friday‚Äôs game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Beverly Hills.
Clark expects a good turnout and advises fans to arrive early to score seats and find parking.