CORSAIR FIELD — Santa Monica football made short work of Channel Islands on Friday to advance to the second round of the playoffs.
On the strength of five turnovers and two turnovers on downs, Samohi (7-4 overall and 4-1 in the Ocean League) walked away with a 27-0 win in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Western Division playoffs at Santa Monica College.
The only real drama came late in the game with Channel Islands threatening to spoil Samohi’s shutout bid. Behind running back AJ Oto, Channel Islands benefited from a penalty on the Samohi band for playing during a time-out and marched deep into Samohi territory before quarterback Ricky Estrada fumbled the exchange from center. Samohi defenders recovered the ball at the 23-yard line with just minutes left on the clock.
“I’m a heck of a defensive coach,” Samohi head coach Travis Clark joked after the game, noting that it was the third consecutive shutout for his Vikings. “That is what I do, what I teach.”
Despite the lopsided score, Samohi’s offense was a bit flat with the exception of senior running back Will Taylor, who scored a pair of touchdowns.
Senior Kevin Person made his first start of the season at quarterback. Aside from a few gains running the ball, he was mostly ineffective throwing it.
Senior Jordan Detamore also got a chance under center, but he too was unable to make many plays in the passing game.
It’s a growing trend for Samohi to be a run-heavy team. Running backs Taylor and Kwame Duggins have increasingly become the focal point of the offense as Clark tries to muster up a passing attack.
“It was a great victory,” Taylor said. “They were good, but we just stayed with it and things worked out for us.”
Channel Islands head coach Gary Porter said he felt the game was much closer than the scoreboard indicated.
“I figured we were pretty evenly matched,” Porter said. “But, they’re a pretty good team.”
Porter pointed to a play early in the second quarter that turned the game around.
Driving down to the 5-yard line, Estrada was picked off by linebacker Terrence Jackson who returned it 95 yards for a score that gave Samohi a 10-0 advantage,
“If we score that touchdown, it’s 7-3 us,” Porter said. “That really gave them the momentum.”
It was momentum that Samohi wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way en route to the victory.
The win sets up a matchup with Lompoc on Friday.
Samohi will have to take the long bus trip for the second round game, but Clark isn’t overly worried.
He said that Lompoc is a team that likes to run the ball, something his miserly defense should be able to cope with.
Lompoc (10-1 overall and 6-0 in the Los Padres League) advanced to the second round with a 38-7 drubbing of Cathederal on Friday.
“I’m just excited for my guys to still be playing football,” Clark said. “We’ll see what the game gives us.”