After blitzing through the team’s non-league schedule, the previously-undefeated Santa Monica Vikings football squad was handed a loss in its Bay League opener, dropping a home contest 27-0 against Palos Verdes. Both teams entered the contest 5-0, as the Vikings ripped off five consecutive victories to kick off 2023, clinching a winning record in non-league play for the first time since 2019.
The Vikings kept the game close in the first half, only allowing one Palos Verdes touchdown via a 35-yard connection from Sea Kings quarterback Ryan Rakowski to receiver Luke Gayton. Despite the offense stalling out on several drives, the Vikings defense held strong, including forcing a fumble while trapped deep in the red zone.
Palos Verdes was able to open up its offense in the second half, as Rakowski threw for three more touchdown passes. The freshman was the benchmark of efficiency in the contest, completing all 13 of his pass attempts for 269 yards and four scores. Vikings quarterback Wyatt Brown attempted to keep the offense afloat amidst the second-half barrage, but the home team was kept out of the endzone.
Brown completed 18 of his 29 pass attempts for 183 yards, and had two of his attempts intercepted. Due to a relentless Sea Kings defensive line, the Vikings run game was unable to assist Brown, as senior running back Caden Mccallum was held to 22 yards on 8 carries.
Despite the loss, the Vikings are still on track for a winning season, outscoring non-league opponents 152-57 during the squad’s five-game win streak. After a close 28-21 victory over Calabasas to start the streak, the Vikings won by respective margins of 16, 17, 25 and 28 against El Segundo, West Torrance, Sylmar and Hueneme.
Through six games, Brown has already outpaced his freshman campaign, throwing for 1,322 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 69.4 completion percentage. Brown’s favorite target has been senior Griffin Seals, who has already recorded more receptions (42) and yards (621) than his junior year output. Seals also has 6 receiving touchdowns thus far.
The passing game has been accompanied by Mccallum at running back, as the senior has averaged over 100 yards per contest. Despite Friday’s down performance, Mccallum has rushed for 664 yards and 9 scores on the season, adding 125 yards and another score receiving.
Attempting to reach the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs after last year’s 2-8 campaign, the Vikings’ path to the postseason continues Friday night at Peninsula in Rolling Hills Estates, kicking off at 7 p.m. The Vikings return home on Oct. 13 to face Mira Costa, then finish the regular season with games against Redondo Union and Culver City.