Centaurs To Host Playoff Game
Could it be 2011 all over again for the Culver City High football team?
Just like last season, the Centaurs came into the playoffs having had to win their final game just to make it to the postseason. Then when it seemed like a longshot for Culver City to go far in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, the Centaurs stunned everyone by making it to the Western Division championship game.
Culver City still has a long way to go to repeat that feat, but the Centaurs started off on the right foot last Friday with a 34-20 win on the road over Dos Pueblos of Goleta in a first-round playoff contest.
The Centaurs (7-4) host their second-round contest against top-seeded Lompoc this Friday, and if they can win that game, they would have another home game against the winner of the Santa Monica-Serra game.
The odds would seemingly be against Culver City – Lompoc has won 31 straight games and two Northwest Division championships since 2010 – but the Centaurs beat the odds last year, so the way coach Jahmal Wright sees it, why can’t they do it all again?
“We’re feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Wright said. “We played well last week. Our offense clicked, and our defense held the lead. Lompoc is as good as advertised. They’re a very physical team, they like to run the ball and they do it well. They definitely deserve the top seed.
“But we still think we have a shot to knock them off. I think we have an advantage in athleticism, and we’ll be at home, so we like our chances.”
Last week the Centaurs beat Dos Pueblos despite multiple penalties, including two that negated touchdowns. But quarterback Xan Cuevas threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, and Julius Wilson and Stanley Norman made big plays as Culver City took a 20-10 lead at halftime.
Cuevas completed 13 of 16 passes and had both of his touchdown throws in the first half. After Dos Pueblos took a 7-0 lead, Norman took a short pass from Cuevas and turned it into a 72-yard touchdown to make it 7-6.
Then a 44-yard pass from Cuevas to Justin Montgomery set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Akili Skannal to give Culver City its first lead, 13-7, in the second quarter.
After a field goal by Dos Pueblos, Cuevas hooked up with sophomore Brandon Hassan for a touchdown pass just before halftime to give the Centaurs a 20-10 lead at the break.
“Xan played one of the best first halves I’ve seen in a while,” Wright said of his quarterback. “He was very efficient, and he led us up and down the field.”
In the third quarter, Norman scored again, this time on defense, as he intercepted a pass and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown to give Culver City a 27-10 lead.
Dos Pueblos rallied to make it 27-20 with just under six minutes left in the game, but Wilson scored on a 75-yard run out of the Wildcat formation with 5:06 left to give the Centaurs a 34-20 lead and some breathing room.
Cuevas finished the game having completed 19 of 27 passes with two touchdowns. Wilson ran for 87 yards and a TD, while Skannal ran for 46 yards and a score. Norman caught five passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, while Montgomery caught 3 passes for 67 yards and Sydney Dorsey caught four passes for 53 yards.
On defense, Winner Watts had 13 tackles and two sacks, Norman had seven tackles and two interceptions, running one back for a TD, Deon Young had five tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss, and Kevin Beacham had an interception and six tackles.
Now the Centaurs face the daunting task of trying to hand Lompoc its first loss since Oct. 29, 2010. Lompoc (11-0) averages nearly 300 rushing yards per game and has scored 47 touchdowns on the ground this season. The offense is led by seniors Nikko Hayes (860 yards rushing, 12 TDs), Lavon Coleman (728 yards, 8 TDs), and Taylor Cornejo (559 yards, 9 TDs).
“If we can play mistake-free football, anything can happen,” Wright said.