Santa Monica High School (Santa Monica, CA) or more affectionately called “Samohi” has been a program filled with highs and lows. A football program that has seen its struggles now turns to alumni and familiar faces to get back on top. Samohi celebrated an alumni day this past weekend and the football team had an open practice for all who attended. The mood was a somber one, as this day came one week after the death of former football coach and athletic director, Norm Lacy. There were several attendees wearing tribute shirts with a message about Lacy on the back.
Travis Clark, alumnus of Samohi, enters his second season as the Vikings head coach. Clark was an assistant coach under Norm Lacy when they led St. Monica High School, also in Santa Monica, to a CIF championship in 1998. Now with his first season behind him, Clark looks to improve on a 4-7 record and continue building a program that competes at the highest level. With a bright smile as he walked up to each player during their stretching exercise, Clark is undoubtedly the leader the Vikings and has their respect.
The tradition of a blue/gold competition was realized on Saturday, June 5. The Vikings were split into two sides in a fun-filled, highly competitive, matchup. The excitement could be felt from both sides and it is easy to see the team concept being built. From the early drills one player seemed to stand out in the group. Joel Ramos looks to be a dominant force for the Vikings. Ramos has a mean streak and clearly will be their top linemen this season. Ramos’ mix of good footwork and raw power will be vital towards the Vikings success.
Brandon Taylor looks to be a big part of the offense. Taylor has the looks of a versatile player who can run and catch the ball. If Taylor is able to get the ball in his hands, he has the capability to put up huge numbers. Of course to put points on the board, the Vikings will need to get solid play from the quarterback position. The early leader to be the starter appears to be Brock Miller. Miller took snaps with the first team during passing drills and is the frontrunner going into the 2010 season. Although a bit undersized, Miller showed good touch and threw some nice balls on timing routes.
The defensive side of the ball will be a big question mark. Last season, the Vikings struggled against the likes of Valencia and Culver City. Saturday was not a good gauge on how their defense will perform and it will depend on that defense to win games.
The Vikings also received some words of encouragement from former NFL player and Samohi alumnus, Sam Anno. Anno was in town for the services of his mentor, Norm Lacy, and provided a nice boost for the team. Anno was once a “Special Teams Player of the Year” in the NFL, so seeing that tradition on the field provided a big boost for the kids.
The Santa Monica community and its fans will be hoping for a big year out of the Vikings. If they can transfer their intensity and energy over to the regular season, the Vikings will be a strong player in the CIF.