Santa Monica Football Gets First Victory of the Season on Brand New Corsair Field, 39-24

By David Escobar-Cambay
Corsair Staff Writer

It had to happen. This was the one they needed. The Corsairs played good football and it earned them their first victory of the season, making them 1-0 in conference play, 1-3 overall. What a game. A total team effort was the reason for a victory. The defense had take aways, and the offense clicked. This is the team Coach Robert Taylor always knew he had. "On Monday (the Jesus meeting) we stayed in that room until we found out what was wrong with all of us. From coaches on to the last player, and everybody in there decided that they were going to be better," said a happy and relieved Coach Taylor. "I got a great staff here, I don't do this alone, I got my coaches, we do this together." Defensive coordinator Rory Barnett echoed those words. "We have a saying now to hold the rope, be accountable to each other, and [the coaches] told them, just have some fun, and win the game."

There was no player off the game; it was a total team effort. Bartholomew had 227 rushing yards with four touchdowns, but he couldn't have done it without the offensive line. The line was giving him four foot gaps, and he busted through with a burst of speed worthy of a Usain Bolt reference. "We've been practicing hard, the coaches told us we need to come out and get a victory on the field," said Bartholomew. "All the receivers did their jobs; the offense blocked the best I've ever seen them block all season. I give all of them an A+ for the day."

Quarterback Ryan Burns in his first start for the Corsairs played well after a shaky start. Burns got picked off twice, but settled down in the second half. He finished seven of 15 with 107 yards and two touchdowns. "He's no longer a thirdstringer, he's our starter. He played a heck of a game, he played every snap. He punted, he kicked. Ryan Burns did a great job," said Coach Taylor. The reason for Burns's fast development can be attributed to offensive coordinator David Banuelos. The play call was exceptional. When Santa Monica was struggling throwing the football, they went to the run game. That dominated most of the game. "We've been working on our run game since the spring. We got some good young kids, some big boys. Every day they come out and work hard. The most important thing is we've decreased the mental errors," said Banuelos in a hoarse voice talking about his offensive line. "I'll tell you practice was shaky this week, but they came out and played well in the game. I'm proud of them; they did a great job dominating the line of scrimmage."

Not to be outdone, the defense played like possessed men. John Dalmon had two interceptions for 81 yards. The picks resulted in great field position for the Corsairs. "I worked all week on these passes, Coach made sure we just attacked," said an enthusiastic Dalmon. "We all work together [on defense] it comes from the D-line, to the linebackers, to the DB's to the coaches. We all work together." Vincent Brown and Anton Fischer also contributed with one pick a piece. Let's not forget Charles Hatchett, who was intimidating the Monarchs left and right, making their receivers almost afraid of catching the ball.

The game did start out shaky for the Corsairs. L.A. Valley attacked them early with the long ball. Monarchs quarterback Visciglia hooked up with Matt Johnson on a 30 yard throw making it 6-0. The defense did hold on the field goal, intimidating L.A. Valley enough to make them miss the extra point. Things again got bad for the Corsairs. Positioned at their own one yard line, Burns in the shotgun, the ball was snapped over his head and out of bounds resulting in a safety for the Monarchs, making the score 8-0. It started to look like the Corsairs were in for another long game. Visciglia and Johnson looked like they had Santa Monica numbered. Visciglia hit Johnson for their second connection on a 50 yard touchdown pass. This time the extra point wasgood, and before the Corsairs knew it was 15-0. This was just in the first quarter.

The comeback started in the second. After Burns threw an interception, the Corsairs' defense held down the fort, getting the ball back with Dalmon's first pick of the night. Dalmon ran it to the Monarch's 32nd yard line. Santa Monica was in business. Burns hooked up with wide out Josh Martin for a 32 yard touchdown pass, finally putting the Corsairs up on the board 15-7. With their first touchdown out of the way, the confidence started to climb for the home team. After an L.A. Valley three and out, the Corsairs went back to their bread and butter. The running game. Running backs Hayes and Bartholomew were like thunder and lighting. Hit'em hard with Hayes, then bring in the lighting in Bartholomew. Burns had a beautiful pitch to Bartholomew for a touchdown, bringing the score to 15-13 at halftime.

The second half was much of the same story. Corsairs run game and that great defense. Bartholomew was unstoppable, adding to his touchdown tally with three more in the second. He was bouncing left, right, and in-between. No matter where he ran, the Monarchs had no answer.

The Corsairs needed this game. This is the one they had to have. First home game of the season, first game on the new field. Coach Taylor has been talking about how much potential this team has. He's been preaching to his players that they have what it takes to be a great team. Now they believe it, now a conference championship doesn't seem so far fetched. Santa Monica has been waiting for an exciting football team with play makers at every position. SMC football is on its way back. Their next game is on the road. Let's hope they can get another win on the road.