(photo by Donna Carolo)

INGLEWOOD — Santa Monica High School Head Coach Travis Clark learned the hard way that you can’t always go home again.

Clark’s Samohi Vikings lost to the Inglewood Sentinels, 28-7, on Friday at Coleman Stadium in the Ocean League opener. Clark, who served as defensive coordinator at Inglewood four years ago, said after the game that familiarity didn’t play a role in the loss. It was more a matter of who wanted it more.

“They just out-toughed us,” Clark said. “We looked like a deer in the headlights.”

Facing a staff that includes personnel from the days when Clark walked the sidelines at Inglewood, the second-year head coach was upset that his team didn’t come into the game with the intensity needed to win a tough league contest on the road. He said that his Vikings appeared to avoid contact in some cases and just didn’t show up to play.

The game was close at half-time with Inglewood holding a slim 7-0 lead. But, on Inglewood’s first drive of the second half, running back Kyle Evans scored his second rushing touchdown of the game putting the Sentinels up 14-0. Evans would finish the night with 142 yards rushing.

Samohi was forced to punt on the subsequent possession, a kick that Inglewood’s highly-recruited Derrick Woods returned 55 yards for a score, giving Inglewood a 21-0 edge.

With Samohi trailing, Clark pulled starting quarterback Rhys Gervais, who was ineffective, replacing him with senior Brock Miller. Despite the switch, the pair of signal callers were dogged by Inglewood’s defense to the tune of seven sacks. Clark said that he was leaning toward starting the sophomore Gervais again, but said he would have to go back and evaluate the situation before naming a starter for this Friday’s game.

After Evans scored his third rushing touchdown of the night, Samohi’s offense finally showed some signs of life.

Down 28-0, Samohi running back Kori Garcia put the Vikings on the scoreboard, but it was too little, too late. It would be the only score of the night for Samohi.

The loss sends Samohi to 3-3 on the season. Inglewood improved to 4-2.

Despite the final score, the Vikings were successful in shutting down Inglewood wide receivers Patrick Onwuasor and Woods. The usually potent duo each had just one catch, combining for 33 yards. Samohi’s defensive backfield led by Dylan Muscat, Garcia and Brandon Taylor were successful in stifling the pass all night. Inglewood’s starting quarterback Sean Simmons finished the night just two of six on his passing attempts.

While stopping the Sentinels’ passing game was a bright spot, Samohi’s offense was largely quiet through the air. Inglewood stifled Samohi’s standout receiver Kris Comas all night, limiting the senior to two catches for just over 20 yards.

“[Samohi’s coaches] were talking trash all week about how [Comas] would go off on us,” Inglewood Head Coach Stephen Thomas. “We took him away forcing somebody else to beat us.”

Next for Samohi is a home game against Ocean League rival Beverly Hills on Friday at Santa Monica College’s Corsair Field.

daniela@www.smdp.com

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