COLEMAN STADIUM ‚Äî There were two fumble recoveries on kickoffs, four total touchdowns and at the end, one happy Santa Monica football team. And that was just the fourth quarter.
Down 20-14 early in the fourth quarter, Samohi rode a wave of momentum to its first win in three weeks and a strong start to the Ocean League season with a 35-20 win over Morningside on the road on Friday.
“Special teams, that cost us the game,” second-year Morningside head coach Sheron Butler said after the game. “That‚Äôs where it got away from us.”
Although special teams ultimately doomed them, Morningside did benefit from a pair of punt return touchdowns by Taveon Campbell that put the Monarchs up 20-14 with 10 minutes to play.
That‚Äôs when things got interesting.
Samohi responded with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jason King from Ryan Barbarin that gave the Vikings a 21-20 edge.
On the ensuing kickoff, a squib kick struck the back of Roy Stringer and Samohi quickly pounced on the loose ball and began a drive that would end with another score.
Leading 28-20, lighting struck again. For the second straight kickoff, Stringer had the ball bounce off of him, giving Samohi another possession. Running back Yachal Butler capped that drive off with his second touchdown of the quarter giving Samohi a comfortable 55-20 lead that would prove to be the final score.
“I was not our best victory,” said Samohi senior wide receiver Sebastian LaRue, who scored twice and intercepted a pair of passes. “We had to battle a lot of things tonight.”
The win improves Samohi‚Äôs overall record to 3-3 and 1-0 in league as they try to repeat as Ocean League champs.
Morningside falls to 3-3 overall and 0-1 in league.
Both teams face Beverly Hills next. Samohi will host the Normans on Friday at Santa Monica College with Morningside facing them the next week after their bye.
The win comes after a three-game skid that saw the Vikings lose to Mater Dei, Valencia and Hart.