SAMOHI — In the final tune-up for Ocean League play, Santa Monica High School’s football team tore through Centennial of Compton, 56-13, on Friday at Corsair Field.
With the win, Samohi improves to 3-2. Centennial falls to 2-3.
The game was close through the first quarter with Samohi holding a 7-0 lead on the strength of a 13-yard touchdown by running back Brandon Taylor.
From there, it was all the Samohi Vikings.
Leading the way was running back Kori Garcia, who would score three touchdowns on the night. He caught a 20-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Rhys Gervais and rushed for a pair. Garcia finished the night with a season-high 194 yards rushing.
Gervais would come up with three touchdown passes, two to standout wide receiver Kris Comas. Gervais looked more at ease behind center during his second start of the season as he was 12 for 18 on passing attempts for 213 yards.
“Feels great to get the win,” said Gervais, who struggled during a 63-28 loss to Valencia the week before. “But, I still have to work on my decisions in the passing game.”
Comas was again his favorite receiver as the speedster caught four touchdowns on the night, bringing his season total to 13. He also has two punt returns for scores this year. He tallied 187 yards through the air.
Quarterback Brock Miller was effective in relieving Gervais. In his brief time in the game, the senior threw a pair of scoring passes to Comas.
Despite the lopsided score, Samohi was plagued by a number of penalties, which didn’t sit well with Head Coach Travis Clark.
“Honestly, it was a dirty win,” Clark said. “I’m a little disappointed in our approach. We’ll have to clean that up before facing Inglewood next week.”
While the final score wasn’t pretty for Centennial, the Apaches were in the game early.
After spotting Samohi a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter, Centennial’s Anthony Word returned a kickoff 80 yards to bring the Apaches to within a score at 14-7.
Samohi would answer with a pass from Gervais to Comas for 20 yards, putting the Vikings up 21-7. Samohi followed that with a 2-yard touchdown run by Garcia that essentially put the game away at 28-7.
“This loss could end up being a good thing,” first-year Centennial head coach Jimmy Nolan said. “But, right now, I’m totally embarrassed.”
Nolan added that one of his primary contributors missed the game after being arrested and detained by police. He declined to identify the player.
Key to shutting down Centennial’s offense was Samohi linebacker Justyn Coker, who has been the team’s leading tackler all season. The senior, who didn’t play last year to concentrate on track and field, finished the night with a sack and 11 tackles. Fellow linebacker Chris Collins led the team in tackles with 14.
“The defensive line came up big,” Coker said. “This win will be a stepping stone for next week against Inglewood.”