The Santa Monica (5-2, 4-0) defense was superb, keeping LA Valley in check all afternoon and breaking the game open with two touchdowns in the final nine minutes of the first half. Not counting a brief possession at the end of the first half and a late-game drive against the Corsair reserves, the Santa Monica defense held the Monarchs to just 77 yards of offense and 3 first downs.
LA Valley (3-4, 0-4) started out well enough, thanks to Lawrence Oliver, who returned the opening kickoff 63 yards to the Santa Monica 33 yard-line. But that threat would end when Emilio Rodriguez' fourth-down pass was intercepted by Qujuan Floyd, giving the Corsairs the ball at their own 4.
That would be the last time the Monarchs would threaten to score until the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt. The Corsairs put together a 14-play, 92-yard drive that reached the Monarch 4 yard-line and ended with a 21-yard field goal by Kieran Rock. That would be the only scoring play of the first quarter as Santa Monica twice turned the ball over on downs in Monarch territory and also lost the ball on an interception, but Valley didn't make it across midfield the rest of the half.
Santa Monica extended its lead to 10-0 when backup quarterback Brad Hunt, inserted into the game to start the second quarter, threw a 23-yard touchdown on a screen pass to Anthony Okray with 9:32 left in the first half. That came after a strange sequence in which Valley faced a 4th down but maintained possession when the Corsairs roughed punter Max Gates. However, Gates had to be helped off the field, and when the Monarchs faced another punting situation four plays later tried a fake punt play with receiver-turned-punter Ronald Jones attempting a pass. It fell incomplete, giving Santa Monica the ball at the Monarch 37, and Okray's touchdown came six plays later.
Then the Corsair defense - with some help from punter Marcos Ordonez - gave Santa Monica a commanding 24-0 lead at the half. Just one minute after Okray's touchdown, cornerback Tyler Hasty intercepted a Rodriguez pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-0. Then the teams exchanged punts, but Santa Monica's punt was a 57-yarder by Ordonez that rolled dead at the Monarch 6. Three plays later, a bad snap resulted in a loose ball in the end zone, and linebacker James Brock recovered the fumble for the Corsairs to make it 24-0.
Santa Monica received the second half kickoff and nearly extended its lead even further, driving to the Monarch 3 yard-line. But quarterback Jerry McConnico, back in to start the half, fumbled at the Monarch 5. Valley recovered, and McConnico went back to the bench for a series. But the score was still 24-0 when he returned and atoned for that fumble by leading the Corsairs to a score. He neatly scrambled for 23 yards to get the Corsairs to the Valley 7, and two plays later scored on a 9-yard run with 3:30 left in the third quarter to make it 31-0.
Santa Monica extended its lead even further after a strange sequence early in the fourth quarter. Valley's Zach Kelley intercepted a McConnico pass deep in Monarch territory, but fumbled as he tried to return it and offensive lineman Ty Rouzan recovered for the Corsairs at the Monarch 16. Four plays later, Kyle scored on a 3-yard run that not only pushed the Corsair lead to 38-0 but pushed his rushing yard total for the game past the century mark to 102.
LA Valley finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter against the Corsair reserves, putting together a 13-play, 66-yard drive that ended with Rodriguez reaching the ball over the pile for a 1-yard scoring sneak with 2:49 left to play.
For Santa Monica, McConnico completed 12 of 21 passes for 112 yards and rushed 10 times for 70 yards, but also turned the ball over three times on 2 interceptions and a fumble. Hunt was 6-for-9 for 46 yards and a touchdown in four series. Okray led all receivers with 5 catches for 72 yards. And Kyle had a very strong game with his 102 yards and a touchdown from 17 carries.
But the real standouts for Santa Monica were on defense, specifically the defensive front led by Brock and Selim Baccouche. Brock recovered the fumble for one touchdown and Hasty scored on the pick-six, as the Corsair defense outscored Valley, 14-7. And Ordonez' punt proved a key play as well, pinning the Monarchs deep in their own territory and leading to Brock's touchdown.
For Valley, Rodriguez completed just 8 of 21 passes for 26 yards but managed to lead the Monarchs in rushing with 17 carries for 67 yards. Royce Long had 15 carries for 46 yards. But the best player on the field for LA Valley was undoubtedly defensive lineman Juan Rodriguez, who was a visible presence all afternoon and recorded the Monarchs' lone quarterback sack. Kelley also had a strong game with an interception and a fumble recovery.
The win keeps Santa Monica tied with LA Pierce, a 53-42 winner over Santa Barbara later Saturday, atop the American-Pacific. The Corsairs will travel to Santa Barbara next Saturday to take on the Vaqueros. Valley, meanwhile will take on a different group of Vaqueros next Saturday at Glendale College.
Santa Monica Corsairs 38, L.A. Valley Monarchs 7
Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 1 pm - Corsair Field, Santa Monica
American Division - Pacific Conference
SM - FG Rock 21 yds 9:34 (3-0)
SM - Okray 23 yd pass from Hunt (Rock kick) 9:32 (10-0)
SM - Hasty 25 yd interception return (Rock kick) 8:32 (17-0)
SM - Brock recovered fumble in end zone (Rock kick) 2:23 (24-0)
SM - McConnico 9 yd run (Rock kick) 3:30 (31-0)
SM - Kyle 3 yd run (Rock kick) 9:38 (38-0)
V - E.Rodriguez 1 yd run (Rojas kick) 2:49 (38-7)
First Downs: Santa Monica 20 (11 rush, 8 pass, 1 penalty), LA Valley 9 (8 rush, 1 penalty)
Rushes-Yds: Santa Monica 52-241, LA Valley 47-136
Passing Yds: Santa Monica 158, LA Valley 26
Comp-Att-Int: Santa Monica 18-30-2, LA Valley 8-22-2
Return Yds: Santa Monica 33, LA Valley 163
Sacks-Yds: Santa Monica 3-11, LA Valley 1-11
Fumbles-Lost: Santa Monica 3-2, LA Valley 2-2
Penalties-Yds: Santa Monica 9-68, LA Valley 11-69
Time of Possession: Santa Monica 26:11, LA Valley 33:49
Rushing: SM 28-Kyle 17-102, 7-McConnico 10-70, 5-Davis 12-37, 34-Meneses 3-29, 32-Dar.Palmer 2-7, 24-Ellison 6-6, 35-Reed 1-0, 14-Hunt 1-(-11); V 15-E.Rodriguez 17-67, 22-Long 15-46, 5-Oliver 4-13, 1-Elrod 3-10, 9-Syph 2-1, 25-Torres 5-1, team 1-(-2)
Passing: SM 7-McConnico 12-21-2-112; 14-Hunt 6-9-0-46, 1 TD; V 15-E.Rodriguez 8-21-2-26; 87-Jones 0-1-0-0
Receiving: SM 19-Okray 5-72, 85-Dem.Palmer 2-21, 81-Horchin 2-15, 30-Tillman 2-14, 28-Kyle 2-6, 16-Paschel 1-13, 34-Meneses 1-7, 12-Clay 1-6, 2-Banks 1-4, 5-Davis 1-0; V 87-Jones 2-11, 5-Oliver 2-8, 22-Long 1-5, 84-Israel 1-4, 1-Elrod 1-1, 18-Hackett 1-(-3)
Interceptions-Ret Yds: SM 21-Hasty 1-25, 9-Floyd 1-0; V 20-Williams 1-10, 28-Kelley 1-0
Fum Rec-Ret Yds: SM 44-Brock 1-0, 68-Rouzan 1-0; V 21-Thornton 1-0, 28-Kelley 1-0
Sacks-Yds: SM 44-Brock 1-6, 10-Mitchell 1-3, 59-Hechonova 1-2; V 91-J.Rodriguez 1-11
Punters: SM 60-Ordonez 2-44.5 avg; V 85-Gates 7-26.4 avg
Kick Returns: SM 21-Hasty 1-5; V 5-Oliver 4-112, 32-Turner 2-22, 1-Elrod 1-18
Punt Returns: SM 21-Hasty 1-5, 30-Tillman 1-2, 22-Moody 1-(-4); V 6-White 1-1
Missed FG: none
Notes: Santa Monica entered ranked #7 in American Division and improves to 5-2 overall, 4-0 in conference; LA Valley entered ranked #9 in American Division and falls to 3-4, 0-4. Oliver returned the opening kickoff 63 yds but it ended with Floyd's interception; that would be Valley's best scoring chance until the final few minutes. McConnico started at QB for SMC; Hunt played a few series in each of the 2nd, 3rd & 4th quarters. Jones' pass was on a fake punt play. Ordonez pinned Valley deep with a 57-yd punt that rolled dead at the Monarch 6; a bad snap resulted in Brock's TD moments later. Kelley fumbled after his interception; Rouzan recovered, setting up Kyle's TD.