Koral Leads Santa Monica past Citrus

Santa Monica's David Koral passed for 463 yds and 5 TDs to lead the Corsairs (2-2) to a 46-21 win, handing Citrus (#7 South, 3-1) its first loss of the season. From Santa Monica's first play of the game, a flea-flicker pass that resulted in an 85-yd TD pass to Warren Rogers, it was apparent that Koral and the Santa Monica offense was in top form.

By game's end, the Corsairs would have 644 yds of total offense.

And the conditions weren't exactly optimal.  With a heavy fog throughout the stadium, holding onto the ball was often difficult.  The two teams combined for 9 fumbles, several dropped passes and numerous instances of slipping on the misty ground.  Yet Koral was virtually flawless.  He completed 26 of 36 passes on the night, and his only interception came when a receiver was unable to hang onto the ball and deflected it high into the air.  And by that time, SMC had a comfortable lead.

As the game began, the fog began to roll in, and its effect on the game was immediate.  Citrus took the opening kickoff, but had trouble handling the ball.  Then on their first play from scrimmage, RB Quinton Ganther lost the ball (though an Owl recovered to retain possession).  And 3 plays later, when Citrus punted, Santa Monica muffed the punt (though Ornette Jones recovered to retain possession for Santa Monica).  In all, the teams would combine for 9 fumbles on the night.

Following Jones' recovery at the SMC 15, the Corsairs got the night's scoring started.  On their first play from scrimmage, the handoff went to RB Maurice Little, who stopped and pitched the ball back to Koral, who found Rogers behind the defense along the right hash marks.  Koral's perfect spiral hit Rogers in stride, and he had no trouble holding onto the ball.  That put Santa Monica ahead, 7-0.

But the Citrus offense was able to keep pace, at least for a while. A long drive was capped by Marcus Nolan's 1-yd run, evening the score at 7.  Santa Monica responded with a long drive of their own the next time they got the ball, with Chris Myrick taking it in from the 1, to take a 13-7 lead.  The XPA went wide, keeping it 13-7, and that gave Citrus the chance to take the lead the next time they got the ball.  A 30-yd pass from Steve Payne to Daniel Ulrich did the trick, and Luis Rosales' kick gave the Owls a 14-13 lead.  Then it was Santa Monica's turn, and Koral teamed up with Bryant Thompson on a 55-yd TD pass to make it 20-14.  And as the first quarter came to a close, Citrus was driving yet again.

The Owls' third touchdown was a Quinton Ganther highlight play.  Running wide on the right side, Ganther was suddenly faced with 2 Corsair defenders and no blockers in sight.  But using his explosive acceleration, Ganther sped towards the sideline and into the corner of the end zone!  It was a remarkable bit of running, and with Rosales' extra point gave Citrus a 21-20 lead.

But it was also Citrus' final score of the night.

It looked like Santa Monica was about to re-take the lead on the next possession, but the slippery football had other ideas.  Kenneth Franklin took a short pass from Koral, burst through the defense and appeared to be headed down the left sideline for a TD.  And then suddenly, the ball was loose!  As Franklin had tried to switch hands, the ball popped out, and Citrus' Lawrence Guynes recovered at the Owl 43.  But moments later the Owls returned the favor with a fumble of their own, and Santa Monica's Tim Poseda recovered, returning the ball to the Owl 18.  The drive stalled there, however, and SMC came away empty when Joel Rosenberg's 38-yd field goal attempt was wide left.

Neither team was able to score again until Koral teamed with B.J. Vickers on a 25-yd pass play with 2:11 left in the half.  That was the first of 3 TDs for the Koral-to-Vickers tandem, which allowed the Corsairs to put the game away.  On the conversion, SMC tried a trick play to make up for the missed XPA earlier, but it misfired badly, keeping the score 26-21.  That's where things stood at the break.

The second half, however, was all Santa Monica.  The opening drive ended with a 2-yd TD pass from Koral to Vickers.  And a missed handoff ended Citrus' initial drive when SMC's Keith Green recovered the ball at the Citrus 19.  On the next play, Koral hit Vickers with a 19-yd TD pass, extending the lead to 40-21, and the Owls never threatened again.  Little finished the scoring on a 7-yd TD run with 4:34 left in the 3rd quarter.  The final quarter had no points, but a lot of fog.

In addition to Koral, Santa Monica standouts included WRs Rogers (6 catches, 145 yds, 1 TD), Vickers (3 TDs) and Franklin (6 catches, 110 yds) as well as LB Poseda (2 fumble recoveries, 1 interception).  Myrick (10 carries, 65 yds) led the rushing attack.  And special mention needs to be made of punter Mike Haley, who kicked only once but boomed a high, spiraling kick up into the fog.  By the time it came down and stopped bouncing, it was lying on the Citrus 4-yd line.  It went about 50 yds in the air, but in all was good for a whopping 72 yds!

Citrus was led by QB Payne, who finished 15 of 40 for 175 yds.  Ganther had good numbers with 104 yds on 17 carries plus 4 catches, but had a pair of fumbles (and was part of another on a missed handoff) and really wasn't a factor after his remarkable touchdown run.  Emanuel Olayinka led Owl receivers with 5 catches, good for 57 yds.

With the win, Santa Monica evens its record at 2-2 and has outscored the opposition 93-35 in the last 2 games.  Meanwhile, Citrus falls to 3-1.

1st Quarter:

SM – Rogers 85 yd pass from Koral (Rosenberg kick) 13:07 - 7-0
C – Nolan 1 yd run (Rosales kick) 9:10 - 7-7
SM – Myrick 1 yd run (kick wide right) 6:02 - 13-7
C – Ulrich 30 yd pass from Payne (Rosales kick) 4:32- 13-14
SM – B.Thompson 55 yd pass from Koral (Rosenberg kick) 2:02 - 20-14

2nd Quarter:

C – Ganther 5 yd run (Rosales kick) 13:47 - 20-21
SM – Vickers 25 yd pass from Koral (run failed) 2:11 - 26-21

3rd Quarter:

C – Vickers 2 yd pass from Koral (Rosenberg kick) 11:12 - 33-21
C – Vickers 19 yd pass from Koral (Rosenberg kick) 10:21 - 40-21
C – Little 7 yd run (pass run failed) 4:34 -  46-21

4th Quarter:

No Scoring

Individual Statistics:


SM:  30-Myrick 10-65, 29-Wallace 4-48, 28-Little 10-35, 19-B.Thompson 1-12, 7-Koral 5-11, 38-Hughes 1-5, 15-Haley 2-5
C:  1-Ganther 17-104, 7-Nolan 4-9, 19-Olayinka 2-8, 22-Fields 1-4, 16-Payne 5-(-7), 11-Budzien 2-(-14)


SM:  7-Koral 26-36-1-463, 5 TDs    
C:  16-Payne 15-40-2-175, 1 TD; 11-Budzien 3-6-1-60


SM:  12-Rogers 6-145, 16-Ken Franklin 6-110, 19-B.Thompson 5-78, 28-Little 4-55, 1-Vickers 4-53, 82-Porter 1-22
C:  19-Olayinka 5-57, 4-Ulrich 4-66, 1-Ganther 4-25, 8-Greenwade 3-51, 44-Kapturkiewicz 2-36


SM:  15-Haley 1-72
C:  82-Yost 5-39.8 avg

Kick Ret:

SM:  12-Rogers 2-39, 30-Myrick 1-12, 8-Searcy 1-1
C:  10-Hamilton 3-41, 22-Fields 2-40, 28-Watkins 2-24

Punt Ret:

SM:  16-Ken Franklin  4-18
C:  none

Fum Rec-Ret:

SM:  20-Green 1-0, 56-Poseda 1-30
C:  24-Guynes 1-0, 97-John Robles 1-0

Int-Ret Yds:

SM:  56-Poseda 2-46, 35-B.Smith 1-11
C:  58-Josh Robles 1-0                            


SM:  20-Green, 91-B.Allen, 93-Herbert               
C:  2-Fuentes 1/2, 31-Jensen 1/2, 54-Seman 1/2, 90-J.Thompson 1/2

Missed FG:

SM:  Rosenberg 38 (wide left), 35 (wide left)


Citrus entered 3-0, #7 South, t-#25 JCGW; SMC ent. 1-2, #24 South.  Foggy & Misty!  And the ball was slippery, as one would expect.  Ken Franklin's longest catch was a 50-yarder…he was in the clear, and just dropped the ball; Guynes recovered for the Owls.  SMC's 1st TD came on a flea-flicker (pitch back to QB).  Koral's int was a drop/deflection off Vickers that bounced to Robles.


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