The LookOut sports

Santa Monica Sports Notes

The St. Monica boys basketball team was 0-4 when it surprised Santa Monica, 68-60, in the first round of the El Segundo Tournament last Monday.

Guard Hampton Nunley scored 24 points and 6-foot-5 junior Kyle Guillory 21. Returning all-league forward Pablo Dresie had 17 for the Vikings.

``We had played four games and Santa Monica none and they made first-game mistakes,'' said St. Monica Coach Chris Quinn, who earned his first win after taking over for Scott McDowell, now vice-principal at North Torrance High.

St. Monica lost in the second round to the host school, 67-52 as El Segundo improved to 6-0.

Santa Monica won its next two games in the consolation bracket, including a 64-62 victory over Torrance. The Vikings overcame a 15-point fourth quarter deficit, scoring 27 points in the period.

The SMC mens' basketball team has a 4-1 record. Included is a 71-64 victory over Trade Tech. Marko Mihailovic scored 15 points for the Corsairs, followed by Eric Norcross and Omosalewa Daramola with 13...

SMC football coach Robert Taylor, coming off a 1-9 season, has expressed the hope that Samohi quarterback James Cooper, receiver Charles Gordon and/or tailback Derrick Davis will play for the Corsairs next season. However, Taylor is going to have competition for the Samohi players who aren't awarded scholarships to four-year schools. El Camino College had representatives on the sidelines at Friday's Samohi championship game who said they are interested in several Viking players...

Tebb Kusserow, the former Samohi head coach who came out of a nine-year retirement to become Lacy's offensive co-ordinator the last two years, is expected to retire again. He made a two-year commitment. ``If it was his final coaching day we weren't going to lose,'' said Lacy of the championship game victory...

Samohi Wins First CIF Football Championship Since 1981

By Mitch Chortkoff

The first time Santa Monica High won a CIF football championship was in 1920. The last time the Vikings won a CIF football championship was Friday night.

The seventh CIF football championship in school history was accomplished in a 28-14 conquest of North Torrance, in a game where Samohi quarterback James Cooper outperformed his heralded rival, Kenny Brown. And in a game where Samohi dominated line play.

The Division 10 title game was a rematch of an Ocean League contest where Samohi went to North Torrance and prevailed, 23-20, on Derrick Davis' touchdown in the last eight seconds.

There were no such dramatics in the rematch, played before a capacity crowd of 6,000 at North Torrance. Samohi took a 28-0 lead and survived a mild rally.

"I think they believed the first game was a fluke,'' said Samohi tailback Derrick Davis. "We were out to show it wasn't.''

Samohi's championship victory was more convincing because Coach Norm Lacy had moved 280-pound Josh Smith from tight end to fullback five games ago and because Lacy had time to focus on the task.

"Our coaching staff studied a lot of film. I didn't get much sleep all week,'' said Lacy. "Once you get to this level you've got to win.

"The key was containing Brown. We devised a defense where we rushed him hard up the middle and forced him to the outside, where we had people waiting. We have fast, physical linebackers.''

One was Pete Roses, who transferred to Samohi this season from Bishop Montgomery and added strength to the defense.

"He's a big, fast athletic linebacker who gave us an added presence,'' said Lacy.

Other defenders drawing praise from Lacy were Abraham Baudillo, Adrian Gonzalez and Seth Levin.

Brown threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second half but North Torrance, which had overcome 13-point deficits twice in the playoffs, couldn't catch up.

It was the second CIF title for Lacy in four seasons. He guided St. Monica High to the 1998 championship, then endured a 1-9 season at St. Monica and enjoyed a 9-3 season at Samohi before leading this group to an 11-2 record.

North Torrance beat everyone else. It finished 12-2, with both losses coming on its home field to Santa Monica.

"They owned the line of scrimmage,'' said North Torrance coach Todd Croce. "They beat us up front pretty well.''

Neither Davis nor Cooper has been beseiged with college scholarship offers because they're a little smaller than college scouts would like. But Davis carried 36 times for 146 yards and Cooper calmly guided the offense, his most superb play being a five-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Maze for a 14-0 lead.

On the drive Davis was pounding away and the Vikings were getting close to the Saxons' goal line but couldn't quite get into the end zone. So Cooper faked a handoff to Davis and arched a pass into the corner of the end zone, leading Maze perfectly.

Davis added a two-yard TD run 46 seconds before halftime, increasing the intermission lead to 20-0.

Cooper's 41-yard TD pass to Charles Gordon and Cooper's conversion run made it 28-0 early in the third quarter. Only then did Brown rally the Saxons, but four touchdowns was too much to overcome.

Nobody came within two touchdowns of Samohi in the playoffs. The Vikings routed Workman High, 62-0 and La Canada, 49-3, before going on the road to conquer defending champion Paso Robles, 26-14, and North Torrance.

Samohi will pay a price for the convincing performance. It will move up to a higher division next season, reportedly anywhere from Division 4 to 7.

But Lacy figures to come back with another competitive team. Although several key seniors graduate --- including Cooper, Davis, Gordon, Maze, Smith, Roses and Chris Gary --- several key players return. In addition there will be talent from the Samohi Junior Varsity, which won the league title.

"It is hard, hard work,'' said Lacy. "I require the players to make quite a commitment if they want to succeed at this level. But the victory is so gratifying.''

Santa Monica has won CIF football championships in 1920, 1941, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1981 and 2001.

North Torrance made its second championship game appearance and has lost both times.

It was expected the title game would be played at the larger El Camino College Stadium, but North Torrance officials decided to keep their home field advantage. Additional bleachers were brought in and the game was played in a perfect setting, with 3,500 North fans on one side and 2,500 Samohi fans on the other side -- the stands packed and the environment electric.

It came down to one team executing its plan better than the other.

"The better team won tonight,'' said North Torrance defensive end Alex Ligon.

Samohi was very disappointed with its opening game 16-13 loss to Peninsula, but the Vikings won 11 of 12 after that.

"The loss made guys work harder,'' said Roses. "Everyone made a great effort and we deserved the success we achieved.''
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