For La Jolla High seniors, last Friday’s Homecoming/Senior Night game couldn’t have ended soon enough, as the Vikings’ homecoming concluded with a 44-7 loss Nov. 6 to the Point Loma Pointers.
It was a tough end to the regular season, as playoffs lie ahead. The evening’s brightest moments came before the game, when La Jolla recognized eight senior varsity players in a ceremony featuring introductions with the players’ families, friends and mentors. Jonathon Levenson, Trenton Fudge, Casey Brown, Chase Penrith, Jesus Manzano, Nico Pestana, Alex Lopez and Oscar Grossman were all distinguished for their hard work and team-first mentalities.
The ceremony also featured the NFL Golden Football Trophy, awarded in recognition of La Jolla alumnus John Michels. A 1992 La Jolla High graduate, Michels went on to play at University of Southern California before being selected in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He earned a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XXXI, when the Packers defeated the New England Patriots, and is today the only La Jolla High alumnus to play in the NFL’s championship game.
On the field, the Vikings scored their lone touchdown in the fourth quarter, after already trailing the Pointers by 37 points. Point Loma added one last touchdown in the final minutes of the game. Point Loma quarterback Brenden Torrence and running backs Tshombre Carter and Jaylen Griffin combined to bring Point Loma 364 total offensive yards.
Taking advantage of several Vikings missteps, the Pointers held a lead in each of the four quarters.
The Vikings’ regular season saw many ups and downs. Labeled the underdog in many contests, the team faced adversity — from its lack of roster depth to its strength of schedule — yet may have surprised a few with its heart and its upset of the Christian High School Patriots in early October.
La Jolla’s head coach, Jason Carter, said that despite the rough end to the Vikings’ regular season, which included four straight losses after a 3-3 start, the Vikings head into the playoffs with a clean slate. “It’s a new season now, moving forward, the boys have a 0-0 record,” Carter said.
Next up: Seeded No. 8 in the CIF San Diego Section Division III playoff bracket, the Vikings will host on a neutral site the Patrick Henry Patriots in the first round of Division III playoffs, with kickoff 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at University City High School. The winner will advance to the Nov. 20 quarterfinals to play the top-seeded Bonita Vista Barons in Bonita.
The Vikings will enter the playoffs having suffered several player injuries in their Nov. 6 game. La Jolla’s junior varsity team has concluded its season, finishing with a 28-7 loss to Point Loma and an overall record of 4-4-1.