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Next stop for Hart football: Foothill League

Indians are threatened but end preleague play at 5-0

Posted: October 4, 2013 10:46 p.m.
Updated: October 4, 2013 10:46 p.m.
Hart’s Joey Bilbo runs with the ball at Santa Monica High School on Friday in the Indians’ 26-14 win. Hart’s Joey Bilbo runs with the ball at Santa Monica High School on Friday in the Indians’ 26-14 win.
Hart’s Joey Bilbo runs with the ball at Santa Monica High School on Friday in the Indians’ 26-14 win.

SANTA MONICA — The Hart Indians faced another challenge on Friday night, and they didn’t flinch.

With its offense struggling more than it had all season after a key player went down with an injury, Hart fought back from a two-touchdown deficit to beat the Santa Monica Vikings 26-14 at Santa Monica City College.

And now the No. 1 team in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division is off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2007, which was also the last time Hart won a Foothill League title.

“We had a rough start offensively. We couldn’t get into a rhythm,” said Hart senior Chase White, who returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown in the game. “It was definitely a test for us to see where our minds were at. And we stood strong.”

Hart’s dynamic senior running back Connor Wingenroth injured his shoulder on the second play of the game from scrimmage, which went for 19 yards. He didn’t return.

With Wingenroth sidelined with what Hart head coach Mike Herrington called a possible separated shoulder, the Indians stumbled offensively and fell behind 14-0 midway through the second quarter.

It wasn’t until the 1:53 mark of the second quarter that Hart quarterback Brady White finally got Hart on the board with a 1-yard keeper into the end zone. A Hart team that averaged more than 52 points per contest coming into the day trailed 14-7 at halftime and continued to trail until early in the fourth quarter.

“Our defense played sensational,” said Santa Monica head coach Travis Clark. “They gave us an opportunity and that’s what we wanted.”

After a subpar first half, Brady White recovered well and ended up with 288 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 18-of-35 passing. He also ran for two scores, one of which was from 30 yards out on the opening play of the fourth quarter.

That score tied the game at 14-14.

“I’m just happy our team has some character playing from behind like they did,” Herrington said.

A big factor was the defensive adjustments as well.

Santa Monica (2-3) picked up 118 rushing yards on 13 combined carries in the first half with the combination of Kwame Diggins and Ryan Chamberlain.

Those two finished with a total of 136 yards for the game.

The Hart defense forced four turnovers in the game, including three interceptions off Vikings quarterback Nico Basile.

One of Basile’s third-down passes sailed into the hands of Chase White, who took it back 48 yards for a go-ahead touchdown to give Hart a 20-14 lead early in the fourth.

The Indians later put the game away when Brady White connected with Trent Irwin for a 32-yard score with 4:52 to play.

“We’re one step of three to our ultimate goal,” Chase White said of the 5-0 record.

He said steps two and three are winning the Foothill League and winning a CIF title. Step two begins next Friday against West Ranch in the league opener.


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