(photo by Morgan Genser)

BEVERLY HILLS — Samohi head coach Travis Clark may know what he’s planning for Beverly Hills on Friday, but he isn’t telling.

The third-year football coach at Santa Monica High School isn’t the type to divulge those secrets. He’s talkative, sure, but when it comes to game planning, mum’s the word.

He plans to have everyone guessing, including Ocean League host Beverly Hills, who despite a 2-4 record have Clark’s respect as the two approach week two of league play on Friday.

“We’re practicing for everything,” Clark said. “We’ll take what they give us and go from there.”

Yet, despite the secrecy surrounding the game plan, Clark did admit that his Vikings will look much like they have all season. They’ll run the ball primarily with Kori Garcia and London Lewis and air it out to what is a growing number of threats in the passing game.

Even his players are wise to mince their words when talking about their offensive attack.

Senior quarterback Christian Salem, who has recently drawn the interest of Occidental College, said that they were just going to take what the rival Normans give them. When Clark heard what his signal caller said he couldn’t help but laugh, adding, “attaboy.”

The same could be said for Salem’s main target all season, junior wide receiver Sebastian LaRue.

“We’re just going to do our normal stuff,” LaRue said. “Whatever is working, we’re sticking with it.”

What has worked all season has been a steady diet of passes to LaRue, who has quickly drawn the attention of coaches who have taken to double-teaming the transfer from Orange Lutheran.

That isn’t lost on LaRue, who has noticed the extra attention. Instead of being frustrated by the sudden attention, he’s actually noticed that the added coverage has given other receivers a chance to shine.

That was on display last week as Salem hooked up with Michael Jordan who ran it in for a long score.

“Salem is getting more comfortable with the other guys,” said LaRue, who has already received an offer from Boise State. “It’s helping us out more, it gives us a chance to look at other options.”

As for the constant double teams that kept him out of the endzone on Friday during a win over Inglewood, LaRue sees it as a sign of respect.

“They are double teaming for a reason,” LaRue said.

The increased receiving options for Samohi is a drastic departure from last season when the passing game was dominated by Kris Comas, who has since gone on to play for Santa Monica College after not qualifying for a number of scholarship offers from NCAA Division 1 schools.

That diversity has Clark beaming as he hopes to lead his team to a 6-1 record on Friday in enemy territory.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Clark said. “Nobody is concerned about stats. They don’t care who does what, they just want to win.”

Clark attributes the teams’ newfound ability to spread the wealth to the maturity of a senior group that has been with him for all three years he’s been head coach.

He pointed to defensive back/wide receiver Dylan Muscat, Garcia, linebacker Chris Collins and others as a reason for the change.

“They understand how important this is to the school and the community,” Clark said. “They are great leaders who know what needs to be done.”


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