The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

SMC had a bye last weekend and will be home Saturday night against powerful Moorpark. The Corsairs have a 1-4 record, below their standards of recent years and Coach Robert Taylor is looking for ways to improve the defense.

Scott McDowell, the St. Monica boys basketball coach and assistant principal for many years, is now vice-principal at North Torrance and was on the sidelines helping co-ordinating activities Friday when Samohi played the Saxons. He said he misses his colleagues at St. Monica but is happy in his new job, which will not include coaching this year. Although McDowell is no longer associated with the St. Monica basketball program he said he expects his former assistant, Chris Quinn, to do a terrific job as head coach. And he expects guard Hampton Nunnaly to be an outstanding player this season.

Mike Wagner, who was athletic director last year at St. Monica, now holds a similar position at Serra High in Gardena...

John Tippins, a former Santa Monica High and SMC running back, emerged in a big game for Washington State Saturday. The 220-pound junior gained 75 yards in a 45-39 victory at Stanford in a game between two teams who began the day undefeated in Pac-10 play. Tippins stepped up when Dave Minnick, Washington State's leading rusher, suffered a knee injury the previous week. Tippins was the workhorse on the Cougars' winning drive. ``I said in the huddle let's drive the ball down the field and end this,'' he said.

The Samohi girls lost a Bay League volleyball match to Peninsula, 16-14, 15-4, 12-15, 15-5. Although the Vikings rallied to win the fourth game their record fell to 2-5 in league play...

Samohi Conquers Longest Yard, Takes Command in League Race

By Mitch Chortkoff

There was once a movie entitled "The Longest Yard."

But this wasn't a movie Friday night. It was for real. Santa Monica High was on the North Torrance one-yard-line with 11 seconds to play, trailing 20-16. At stake was a commanding position in the Ocean League football race.

Derrick Davis blasted over right tackle and into the end zone. Instead of losing, Samohi won, 23-20 and defeated an elite opponent for the first time in Norm Lacy's two years as head coach. And they did it on the road.

Davis gained 153 yards on 22 carries and returned an interception 50 yards, setting up a field goal that gave Samohi a 16-13 halftime lead.

Although Lacy had boosted Samohi from a 2-8 team to a 9-3 team last year, losses to North Torrance, Inglewood and Paso Robles left the Vikings a notch away from rising into the class of powerhouses in their CIF division.

It looked like the trend would continue when North Torrance scored in the second half to go ahead and Samohi was then pinned on its own 24.

Not only did Samohi have to drive to the winning touchdown it had to it against a powerful opponent on its home field.

No problem for James Cooper, Charles Gordon, Davis and a veteran offensive line that provided the necessary protection.

With 2:13 remaining Samohi went 76 yards in 13 plays to the touchdown that shook up the Ocean League standings.

Samohi and South Torrance are now 3-0 in the league while last year's best teams, Inglewood and North Torrance, both have one loss. North Torrance defeated Inglewood, a team Santa Monica has yet to play.

``I was hoping they would come back to me to score the winning touchdown,'' said Davis. ``I wanted to win the game. But first we had to pass to get into scoring range.''

On the winning drive Cooper had two completions over the middle to Gordon, who makes that play, holds onto the ball and takes a pounding. It was particularly impressive because Gordon was banged up and hadn't been a major factor.

``We had to get him into the action,'' said Lacy. ``And we looked to Cooper for leadership. We're going to need more of that in our tough league.''

One completion to Gordon went for 17 yards and brought Samohi to the North 20 with one minute left. Cooper then ran for 11 yards, putting the ball on the nine with 24 seconds to go. A pass interference call in the end zone, when a North player interfered with Gordon, brought it to the four-yard-line with 20 seconds left. Davis then gained three yards, leaving 11 seconds on the clock.

Davis' plunge into the end zone brought Lacy the biggest victory of his two years after he came from St. Monica High. Eight seconds remained and after Samohi kicked off out of bounds twice it kicked a bouncer into the middle of the field. North tried a couple of laterals but didn't advance much as the game ended.

Pete Roses, a transfer from Bishop Montgomery High, was a key Samohi defender. He's a linebacker who hits hard.

``I came here to win a championship,'' said Roses. ``I love being in this program. Coaches Lacy and (Tebb) Kusserow are great to play for.''

North scored first and Samohi came back to tie the game on a one-yard run by backup tailback Adrian Gonzalez with 57 seconds left in the first quarter. Curiously, Lacy went for a two-point conversion that failed rather than make the extra point kick.

``It was for a psychological advantage,'' he said. ``We wanted to be physical. I thought we'd make the two points.''

Instead Samohi had to score again to get the lead, accomplished on a brilliant, twisting catch by Terrell Maze of a Cooper pass. But Kenny Brown, North's terrific quarterback who is sure to earn a college scholarship, ran for a tying touchdown that left the score 13-13 with 6:10 left in the half.

Brown could be a defensive back or wide receiver, or possibly a quarterback in college. He is probably the best athlete in the league, and Lacy devised a special defense to cut down Brown's ability to go outside. However, Brown still made big yardage by scrambling.

Davis' interception led to the field goal that gave Samohi the lead, but Brown's 19-yard pass to Michael Bolio set up Brown's run for the TD that gave North a 20-16 lead with 9:57 left, setting up the final dramatics.

Samohi's next marquee game will be against Inglewood, but the Vikings could stumble if they look ahead. They play at El Segundo Friday night, and last year quarterback Matt Engle had a big game although Samohi won.

Last week Engle completed 30 passes for 407 yards in a 36-26 Ocean League win at Torrance.

El Segundo is 3-1, including 2-1 in league play.
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