Ball Control Works For Redondo
By Fred Altieri
There was a distinct hint of autumn air in the late Culver City summer night as the town’s football faithful witnessed a classic game of speed vs. size, passing vs. running, the Westside vs. the South Bay, Centaur blue vs. Sea Hawk red.
Mere hours before the 2013 Fall Equinox, when the plane of the Earth’s equator passed the center of the Sun… size mattered and ball control dictated.
The Culver City High football team gained more than 400 yards in total offense against visiting Redondo but still fell two touchdowns short in a 28-14 disappointing loss.
It was their second defeat of the season, both coming at home on their newly installed synthetic turf field.
Culver City Coach Jahmal Wright opened, “They ran a Wing-T type offense and ran the ball in a slow-play, slow-paced style. They controlled the clock and wore us down. They did a pretty good job with that.”
That was only part of the story, “We made untimely mistakes that negated our scoring opportunities. I thought we moved the ball well, up and down the field. But once we moved it we would shoot ourselves in the foot with a penalty or a sack and it would set us back.”
Redondo stopped the first Centaur drive with a long interception return that completely reset the initial tone of the game. A few plays later the Sea Hawks had a sudden 7-0 lead.
“The first touchdown that Redondo scored was off a turnover. They intercepted a pass and had very good field position with first and goal from the 10 yard line,” said Wright.
The tipping point was found in the trenches. Redondo was able to rush for 213 yards on 50 carries and strategically take large chunks of time off the clock.
Wright elaborated, “Their line outplayed our line. That was definitely one of the deciding factors in the game. Their offensive line really fired off of the ball and stayed low. They did a good job at the point of attack.”
Redondo scored on one of those consuming drives later in the first quarter to increase the lead to 14-0. “We have a little bit more speed than Redondo does and they have a little bit more size than we do. To Redondo’s credit, even when they didn’t score they ate up a lot of the clock and wore us down with long drives,” Wright added.
The Centaur offense responded with urgency when Marcus Moore caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Armani Rogers, who completed 14 for 25 for 148 yards.
Wright gave the numbers, “Moore caught both Culver touchdowns for the game and finished with six catches for 113 yards. Jericho Flowers had four receptions for 60 yards. Brandon Hassan had seven receptions for 55 yards. Stanley Norman had three receptions for 51 yards. For our rushing Stanley Norman had nine attempts for 31 yards. Anthony Polk had eight attempts for 36 yards.”
Redondo scored on a pass play to take a 21-7 halftime lead. That score would hold up throughout the entire third quarter. The Culver offense was still moving the ball but not going anywhere.
“Our offense was not in a rhythm. They were also able to sack our quarterbacks seven times and neutralize our running game. They were able to execute their techniques a little better than us. I believe we only had four possessions in the second half but we didn’t score more points because of a lack of execution,” said Wright.
The Culver defense kept the score within reach despite the relentless Sea Hawk ground attack. Noticeable was Reynard Saxon who had 10 solo tackles and seven assisted tackles. Remy Grundy had eight solo tackles, five assisted and two tackles for losses while Ty’Jason Roberts had three solo tackles and eight assisted.
“I thought once we settled down we played okay defense. We were on the field a lot and it kind of wore us down. We gave up 21 points in the first half and they didn’t score any more until it was late in the game. I thought our defense did a very good job in the second half,” Wright observed.
Redondo put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter before the Centaurs scored very late on a well-executed play from quarterback David Handler to Moore sprinting down the right sideline for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Handler completed 8 of 11 passes for 150 yards.”
Wright concluded, “They came in with the mentality of ball control, running the ball and kind of playing keep away from us and playing good defense. To their credit it worked for them. They have a pretty good coaching staff. It’s the first time we lost to Redondo in a long time and their coaches did a good job of preparing their team to play.”