By Mitch Chortkoff
Inglewood won the Ocean League football championship in 2010 and Santa Monica won it last season.
Before that Culver City was the winner four times in five years.
Those three teams are the likely contenders for first place this season and the Vikings are right in the middle of the action.
Last Friday Inglewood defeated Culver City, 12-9. Santa Monica, which has beaten Morningside and Beverly Hills, will host Culver City at Corsair Field Friday night.
“We’ve come a long way since we lost three one-sided non-league games to Mater Dei, Valencia and Hart, then had to rally to win our league opener from Morningside,” said Santa Monica coach Travis Clark.
“I believe our young players learned a lot in the losses and have a better idea now of what is required.”
Clark was especially happy with the Vikings’ defense in the 24-0 victory over Beverly Hills which was witnessed by a large homecoming crowd at Corsair Field.
Beverly Hills has a 1-6 record and obviously wasn’t in the class of teams Samohi had been playing. But, still, holding any opponent to 60 yards of total offense pleased the coach.
Clark regards senior linebacker Nick Cardiel as a key figure on the defense.
“He’s a terrific football player,” said Clark, who sounded like he was lobbying for Cardiel to be named Ocean League Defensive Player of the Year.”
Samohi held a 10-0 lead, then scored a third touchdown and a fourth.
Meanwhile, Culver City squandered several scoring opportunities against Inglewood, including failing on a fourth down pass at the Sentinels’ 17 in the fourth quarter.
Culver City has a heavily recruited receiver in Julius Wilson, who also plays tailback at times in a wildcat formation. Samohi’s chances may depend on how well they defend him.
A 16-13 loss at St. Anthony last weekend left the Mariners with a 4-3 record.
St. Monica has a bye this weekend.
Playing a non-league game against an opponent they knew little about, the Eagles rolled to a 46-18 non-league home win over Mammoth.
The game was arranged when both teams suddenly had an open date.
Now Brentwood (6-1) faces the toughest part of its schedule. First, Paraclete will provide the opposition Friday afternoon on Brentwood’s campus field. The following Saturday night the Eagles will travel to a game against Sierra Canyon at Granada Hills High. Both of these league opponents are perennially strong in the CIF playoffs
Making its annual march through the Western League, the Gondoliers followed up a 62-0 rout of Westchester with a 55-0 victory at Hamilton.
This Friday Venice plays at University at 7 pm.