Right Quarterback Christian Salem from the Santa Monica High School Varsity football scrambles to his left to avoid being sacked by players from the Canyon Varsity football team at Santa Monica College as SAMO hosted Canyon in a non-league football game and won by a score of 42-0 to improve their record to 3-0 (photo by Morgan Genser)

CORSAIR FIELD — The Samohi Vikings were in a sharing mood on Friday against Anaheim Canyon during a 42-0 laugher.

It wasn’t their opponent that Santa Monica High School’s football team was sharing with, it was each other.

A total of five Vikings scored touchdowns against overmatched Canyon as Samohi improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2008 when they started the year 6-0.

“We haven’t been 3-0 in a long time,” Head Coach Travis Clark said. “It’s the first time since I’ve been here. Now we’re just getting ready for league.”

The Vikings still have two non-league games to go before league season begins, but that doesn’t stop Clark and his boys from thinking about what’s possible during the coach’s third year in charge.

The Vikings struck first during their first possession. Star senior running back Kori Garcia got things started with a 6-yard scoring run that put Samohi up to stay.

The steadily improving play of senior quarterback Christian Salem took over from there as he passed for two touchdowns before being pulled during the third quarter to make way for some of the Vikings’ reserves to get some reps. During his time on the field, he connected with increasingly-favorite target Sebastian LaRue and Michael Jordan.

Salem also did a fine job running the ball, converting on a number of crucial third-down plays to keep drives alive. He wasn’t alone running the ball. In addition to Garcia’s first-quarter score, backup running back London Lewis scored a pair of TDs of his own.

“It’s been fun,” Salem said of the perfect start to the season. “This gives us a lot of momentum moving forward.”

The victory over Canyon came with USC-commit Chad Wheeler in street clothes. The tall offensive and defensive lineman was sidelined with a shoulder injury, one that Clark isn’t sure he’ll be able to come back from when the Vikings take on powerhouse Valencia on the road on Friday.

“I think the offensive line rallied around his injury,” Clark said. “People stepped up.”

Clark singled out senior Matt Schultz, who moved over from the defensive line to replace the injured Wheeler. Clark called him the MVP of the game for his efforts.

Also key to the win was the play of Anthony “Animal” Hernandez, who hauled in a highlight reel one-handed touchdown pass from reserve freshman quarterback Nico Basile during the third quarter that capped the Vikings’ scoring for the night.

Hernandez was also crucial on special teams where he dropped two Canyon return men for little or no games during his first experience playing the gunner position. The gunner is one of the lead players dispatched to be the head of the kick coverage.

“They told me to step it up,” Hernandez said. “It felt great to contribute”

Clark was pleased to see so many players contribute to the victory, but did praise the play of the man they call “Animal.”

“He does stuff like that all the time in practice,” Clark said. “It’s nice to see him get a chance to show what he can do.”


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