Culver City Observer -

Paramount Hands Culver Another Loss


October 2, 2014

By Fred Altieri

Observer Reporter

The school of hard knocks is alive and well and still in session for Culver City High football in 2014.

As the fading twilight sky revealed a sliver of an autumn moon dipping toward the Pacific Ocean beyond the western hometown bleachers the Centaurs were playing host to the Paramount High Pirates on September 26 at Jerry Chabola Stadium. This particular test was going to become another rough but purposeful one.

Ultimately, Paramount imposed themselves with three scores in the first half and three more in the second half to handily defeat Culver 38-10. The game reaffirmed that the early season has been a continuing learning experience for a team that has had to replace a number of key starters from last year while patiently incorporating players brought up from the junior varsity level into the program.

The first lesson of the day was delivered by Paramount as they took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright offered: "We got them into a third down and long situation from about the 25-yard line. We had a defensive play called and our defender got free but was in the wrong gap and their running back was able to break through for an early touchdown."

The Pirates added a field goal for a 10-0 first quarter lead. The Centaur defense increased the intensity early in the second quarter and soon gave their offense the ball with great field position.

Coach Wright on the opportunity: "We were able to recover a fumble and had a chance to score a touchdown but our receiver couldn't hold onto the pass and we had to kick a field goal to make it 10-3.

"Tony has a powerful, explosive leg. He's definitely a weapon that we want to utilize to help us win games." The kicking of Tony Caiseros is becoming a reliable offensive weapon as he has scored in all four games this year. He has made six of seven extra-point attempts and two field goals to date. Equally as impressive has been his punting as he handles both chores for the team. Against the Pirates he averaged over 40 yards on seven punts.

Midway through the second quarter it appeared that the Centaurs had made a valiant goal line stand. But on third-and-goal from the 12-yard line the Pirates completed a touchdown throw in the right corner of the end zone. Wright saw a lapse in his defense on several crucial downs: "Unfortunately our corners gave up two touchdown passes on third down and that really hurt us. On both plays we had 'Cover 1' and man-to-man coverage. Their receiver was able to beat our DB's."

Even though Paramount led 17-3 going into halftime, the hometown crowd was treated with a midfield ceremony honoring the 2013 Centaur girls basketball CIF championship team. The school band equally participated in the celebration with a marching showcase introduction featuring the music of Stravinsky.

The Culver offensive line was getting tested throughout and none more so than in the third quarter as the Centaurs found it even more difficult to move the ball due to a key injury.

Coach Wright: "Our offensive line has taken a big blow. We lost our first team, all-league center: Alfredo Mendoza. He suffered a concussion in Friday night's game.

"We had to replace him with someone moving up from the junior varsity level. So we're now trying to establish continuity and a sound way to go about our blocking schemes so that everybody knows their assignments and everybody executes their technique."

The Pirates answered with a 32-yard passing strike down the right sideline with 5:11 to go in the quarter. Paramount took a 24-3 lead into the fourth quarter. Less than two minutes later the Pirates recovered a bad Culver snap over the quarterback's head and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown and a 31-3 lead.

The Centaurs had one last highlight saved for their very supportive and boisterous fans who stayed until the final whistle blew. Wright described the 45-yard touchdown play: "We were able to find a favorable matchup with our best receiver, Justin Manyweather. He had gotten hurt during our second series on offense so he didn't play the whole half. But he was able to regain his composure and make some plays for us in the second half. But not having him in the first half really hurt our offensive production.

"On one play we execute and block everybody in our assignments and the next play we have breakdowns. Our issue to address is to become more consistent on the offensive line, to create holes for the running backs to run through and knowing what our pass blocking responsibility is as well so the quarterback has time to throw the football."

Paramount finished the scoring with a long interception return for a touchdown with just minutes on the clock. Steadily improving, the Centaur defense allowed only one touchdown in the second half and is coming into their own with one game left before the team begins defending its Ocean League title the following week.

Wright knows is optimistic about his defense: "I'm very encouraged with our defensive line. Because of our lack of offensive production our defense as a whole has really played a lot more snaps than the offense. I believe we're making strides week after week and thought we held up pretty well the times we broke down but there's still room for improvement.

"The defensive line is definitely holding their own and a lot of that is to credited to Fred Wadibia. He's a first-team all-league player. I'm seeing growth and the players are fighting.

"So now that we lost our team leader and captain in Alfredo Mendoza for a couple of weeks, we're asking other players to step up. But that's the nature of the beast. That's what football is all about. We have another challenge this week with Channel Islands that is big up front. Their philosophy is power-run game so we'll see where we're at."


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