The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

In the first US Bank Beach Bowl Saturday night, Santa Monica College defeated Citrus, 26-21. The victory avenged an earlier 34-15 loss to the same team. After losing to Citrus the Corsairs won seven of their final eight games.

Santa Monica took a 14-0 lead, fell behind 21-14, then came back on two touchdown passes from Chris Griffin to to tight end Travon McGee. The game-winner came on a five-yard pass with 2:23 left after Griffin found Darrin Clay for a 20-yard gain. It was Griffin's last game at SMC and typical of his game-winning drives for both St. Monica High and SMC in his local career.

The game was also the last at SMC for Ralph Vidal, an assistant coach and former Corsair head coach after 37 years. Owen Hahn, similarly an assistant and former Corsair head coach, took a leave of absence this season and is planning to retire before next season begins. Hahn was on the sidelines Saturday and beamed with pride when the Corsair defensive unit made some heavy hits.

After losing its first three games of the basketball season Coach John McMullen's SMC team gained its first victory, upsetting Riverside in the Antelope Valley Tournament.

Jacoby Atako, the star Santa Monica High guard last season, scored eight points against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion last week in UC Santa Barbara's close loss. After the game he received praise from Coach Bob Williams. ``Jacoby will be outstanding,'' said Williams. ``He has another gear. He can dribble as fast as most guys can run. He can shoot and he's a tenacious defender.'' Atako entered the game leading the team in assists but shooting only 21 percent (4 of 19). But he made a pair of three-pointers.

The boys basketball teams of Santa Monica High and St. Monica are both playing in the El Segundo Tournament this week.

Samohi Coach Believes Next Season Could Be Better

By Mitch Chortkoff

One reason why Norm Lacy has had a successful coaching career is that he doesn't settle for modest goals.

Even though Lacy's Santa Monica High football team went 9-3 this season and won a game in the CIF playoffs he's far from satisfied.

``The goal is to be 14-0, so we fell five wins short,'' he said this week. ``I thought we had a good year but there are still some things for us to accomplish.

``Going to the playoffs was a good experience for our kids, If we want to be successful in the playoffs we have to do well against teams like Paso Robles. In order to do that we have to get stronger. That means we have to get into the weight room and start working.''

Two weeks after being eliminated by Paso Robles, 41-14, the Samohi players are back in the weight room.

Meanwhile, two of the three teams to defeat the Vikings this season have qualified for the Division 10 championship game. Paso Robles will play Inglewood next weekend.

Lacy took a team that was 2-8 last season and made it a winner. He had help from former Samohi head coach Tebb Kusserow, who came out of a nine-year retirement to serve as offensive co-ordinator.

Kusserow plans to return next season.

``He made a two-year commitment,'' said Lacy.

Many of the key players will be back, including tailback Derrick Davis, quarterback James Cooper, receivers Charles Gordon, Terrell Maze and Chris Gary and four sophomores who keyed the defense.

Adrian Gonzalez, a soph who excelled on defense, then gained 250 yards as a tailback in the playoffs, will be one of the featured players.

After Lacy took over for Donald Paysinger in February, he mapped out a plan for success that included working hard in the off-season with a large turnout of players.

``We finished right about where we thought we would this year, the second round of the playoffs, maybe the third,'' he said. ``There are a lot of good football programs around.

``In the playoffs we saw that we have our work cut out for us. It was certainly a wakeup call for our kids. But we have a chance to be a very good team. The kids who played this year set the foundation.

``After we lost to Paso Robles I told our seniors not to be upset. Not too many teams have a nine-win season. For me it validates what I've been pushing for and it validates what our players have been working for.''

Lacy coached St. Monica to its first CIF championship in 60 years three seasons ago, went through a 1-9 season with the Mariners, then moved to Samohi, where he once was an assistant to Kusserow.

``It's been a fantastic experience getting back to Samohi,'' he said. ``We got help from so many people who want to be a part of the program.

``Our staff can take these kids where they want to go. If they want to be excellent they have the ability to be excellent, but they have to go out and do it.''

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