Carter Rescues Culver With Record Performance - Centaurs Rally In Fourth Quarter
With the Culver City High football team facing its second straight loss last Friday, Marquel Carter stepped up to save the day.
The Centaurs’ senior quarterback had a record performance, completing 33 of 51 passes for 532 yards and three touchdowns, and threw the winning touchdown pass with eight seconds left as Culver City rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 35-33 non-league victory over Redondo.
The completions, attempts and passing yards are all school records. Carter also ran for two touchdowns as he continued to be the linchpin of the Centaurs’ high-octane offense.
“Marquel was just spectacular in the clutch for us,” Centaurs coach Jahmal Wright said. “He was like a surgeon in the fourth quarter, leading us on those last two scoring drives. It was an awesome performance.”
Carter led Culver City (4-1) on two touchdown drives in the final nine minutes after Redondo (2-3) had taken a 33-21 lead.
The quarterback’s 1-yard run capped the first TD drive with 6:15 left and cut Redondo’s lead to 33-28. But the Sea Hawks looked ready to put the game away when quarterback Chris Mares came up with a 47-yard run on third-and-12, putting the ball deep in Culver City territory.
But Corbin Jefferson blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Redondo with 2:39 left, giving Culver City the ball at its own 24. It was the second blocked field goal of the game by Jefferson.
Then Carter led the Centaurs on the winning drive, culminating with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Noah Ashley with eight seconds left.
“We didn’t play a complete game, but I was happy with the way the kids stepped up when we needed big plays,” Wright said. “Redondo’s is really tough, solid team, and they gave us all we could handle.”
While Carter was one of the big heroes for the Centaurs at the end, he also made his share of mistakes early. He threw three interceptions, as Culver City had four turnovers to none for Redondo.
The Centaurs fell behind 14-7 in the second quarter, rallied to take a 21-14 lead, then made more mistakes as the Sea Hawks came back to scored 19 straight points before Culver City’s fourth-quarter rally.
“We fell behind because of turnovers,” Wright said. “That’s something we have to work on, because the past two weeks, we’ve had nine turnovers to none for the opposition. You can’t expect to win with that kind of discrepancy.
“We also need to improve our pass defense. We’re doing well at stopping the run, but we’re giving up too many big plays on pass plays.”
Edwin Tillman had 20 yards rushing and 88 yards receiving for Culver City. Ashley had seven receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns, Alex Jackson had four receptions for 131 yards and Cruz Cueva had eight receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown.
On defense, Victor Burnett had 14 tackles, and Jonathan Zisner had seven.
The victory gives the Centaurs a much-needed boost entering Ocean League play this week. Culver City opens league play Friday against Inglewood at Coleman Stadium, and the Centaurs are aiming to avenge last year’s 36-28 loss in the league opener.
Inglewood is 3-2, having lost two in a row, including a 20-13 loss to Palos Verdes last week.
At least this time Culver City won’t have to face Shaquelle Evans, who scored three touchdowns in last year’s game to spark the Sentinels. Evans is now at Notre Dame.
“We couldn’t contain Evans last year,” Wright said. “He’s gone, but Inglewood still has a lot of talent. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”