LOMPOC, Calif. ‚Äî A long road trip to Lompoc ended Santa Monica football‚Äôs playoff hopes.
Lompoc ran away with a 42-10 win over Samohi Friday at home that sends the Braves into the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs.
For Samohi, all they are left with are the memories of a season that saw the Vikings do more with less.
Issues at quarterback left Samohi with little options beyond the running game, yet the Vikings still finished second in the Ocean League and earned an appearance in the second round of the postseason for the third straight season.
Despite being sent home for the year, Samohi head coach Travis Clark couldn‚Äôt help but be proud of his Vikings.
“Just to get to this point, hats off to these kids,” Clark said. “These guys fought this season.”
Samohi ends the season 7-5 overall with a 4-1 league record.
Lompoc improved to 11-1 and will travel to No. 2 seed Chaminade on Friday in the semifinals. St. Francis hosts No. 1 seed Serra on Friday in the other half of the bracket.
Despite the lopsided final score on Friday, Samohi was very much in the game early on.
Lompoc struck first with an 11-yard touchdown run by Richard Foster, but Samohi‚Äôs Ryan Chamberlain answered with a 90-yard kick off return on the next possession that gave the Vikings hope on the road.
That hope was fleeting as Lompoc quarterback Gage Buckley scampered in with a 6-yard keeper on the ensuing possession that gave the Braves all they would need to advance to the next round.
Samohi ended the second quarter on a high note as kicker Denicio Gonzalez-Drake booted a 38-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the frame that made the score 28-10 in favor of Lompoc.
Samohi received the kickoff to begin the second half, but starting quarterback Kevin Person fumbled the ball, ending what could have been a strong start to the third quarter and ultimately dooming the Vikings.
“That was really big for us,” Lompoc head coach Andrew Jones said. “That really took away their momentum.”
Considering that Friday was the third trip to the second round of the playoffs in a row for Samohi, Clark believes that his team is primed for big things for years to come.
“We‚Äôre getting close to competing with the big guys,” Clark said. “I would love to be more competitive with the likes of Lompoc, Serra and Chaminade.”
Clark and Co. will spend the off-season searching for play makers to replace guys like running backs Will Taylor and Kwame Duggins, but a young defensive line gives Clark reason to think that next season will see more of the same success that Samohi has enjoyed the past few seasons.
“I‚Äôm sure some of our young guys will step up next year,” Clark said. “We just have to reload and keep coming.”