CORSAIR FIELD — The game of football is played by 11 guys on each side all striving to make a difference.
On Friday, one was certainly the difference as Santa Monica routed Templeton 44-0 on Friday to advance to the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs where formidable Gardena Serra awaits.
Samohi’s Jason King proved that the Vikings have more than one threat in the wide receiver corps by snagging three long scoring passes from quarterback Ryan Barbarin and later adding an interception return for another touchdown as he amassed an impressive stat sheet.
“Once I did it once I knew that all I had to do was keep doing the same thing,” King said. “Now people know that we have more than one weapon.”
King was referring to teammate Sebastian LaRue, who aided King’s effort by drawing double and triple teams all night that ripped the top of the Templeton defense off. Each of King’s three touchdown grabs came as he streaked past single coverage, leaving his man in his wake.
This is the second straight year that Samohi has advanced to the second round of the playoffs, a feat not accomplished for years. Last year the Vikings made it to the semifinals where they lost to Ocean League rival Culver City.
For Samohi head coach Travis Clark the emergence of King gives opposing defenses something to think about.
“They have to cover both of those guys,” Clark said. “Either one can score at any time.”
While the offense made it look easy, the Samohi defense was no slouch. In shutting out Templeton, the Vikings didn’t allow them to cross midfield until late in the fourth quarter with a number of backups on the field.
The shut out was the second in a row for Samohi, which blanked Hawthorne in the regular season finale.
Clark joked with his team after the game, asking them “who likes donuts?” The players erupted in laughter.
Samohi played well in every phase of the game on Friday, something that will have to continue if they are to topple Serra, the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
Serra enters the game 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the Mission League. Chaminade, the No. 2 seed in the field, won the league.
Round one was kind to Serra. The Cavaliers dominated Oxnard, 49-14.
Despite having wins over heralded Long Beach Poly and Notre Dame on their resume, Clark said Serra isn’t a lock to win the game.
While not showing well during marquee matchups against Mater Dei, Hart and Valencia earlier this season, the Samohi squad was exposed to top-tier talent and established programs. It’s experience that could prove to be essential if the Vikings are going to pull off the upset on the road, Clark said.
“They’re high school kids, just like we are,” Clark said. “My kids have played some big games, too. We’re not afraid of anybody.”
The game is scheduled for Friday at Serra. It begins at 7:30 p.m.