CORSAIR FIELD — One of the best parts of high school football is the fact that a single season is broken up into two parts.
Santa Monica High School Head Coach Travis Clark is happy to leave behind a preseason that saw the Vikings go 1-4 against a pretty heady bunch of opponents that included Venice and Valencia. He sees tonight’s 7 p.m. Ocean League opener against Morningside at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field as an opportunity to flip the script on the season.
“We are refreshed and excited,” Clark said. “I’m ready to start this new season.”
Although he is disappointed by his team’s sluggish start, he knew that rebuilding the program wasn’t going to be easy. He said he approached it as a realist and knew it was going to take time. Five games into his first season as head coach, he hopes that time is now.
Armed with a quarter back in Garrett Safron that he considers a special talent, he is anxious to take the field tonight to see what the second half brings.
“Obviously we wanted to do better in the preseason,” Clark said. “But, we’re going to bounce back.”
That chance will come tonight against an athletic Morningside team. Led by a platoon at quarterback that includes freshman Gregory Adams, Clark expects Morningside to put up a fight. Most notable of all of their weapons is senior running back Antonio Wilson. Clark considers him a game breaker that his team will have to contain if it is to begin the league schedule in the right direction.
When Samohi has the ball, Clark expects to see an aggressive Morningside defense. He hopes to use some of that to his advantage. He predicts Safron will see a lot of man coverage giving him an excellent opportunity to air the ball out creating problems for Morningside’s secondary.
To compliment Safron, Clark will look to sophomore running back Donovan Citrowski to shoulder most of the load on the ground. He admires his ability to gain tough yards. He also likes the fact that he’s an underclassman. Being in his first year at the helm, Clark is eager to develop players that will contribute for years to come.
“That is why I have Donovan carrying the ball,” he said. “I’m looking at the younger guys, hoping that they understand the culture that I’m trying to develop around here.”