Culver City Observer -

Culver (0-6) Awaits Homecoming Game Friday

El Segundo (6-0) Is The Opponent


October 16, 2014

Fred Altieri

Fred Poindexter takes handoff and romps

"It was a game that was a tale of two halves."

The opening words from Culver High head football Jahmal Wright aptly describing his team's 42-10 loss at Lawndale High to begin the 2014 Ocean League season last Friday night, October 10, cut to the chase.

He continued: "In the first half I thought that we were able to keep the game close with some good defensive plays. Our offense had that one drive down the field to get a field goal. We were able to end the first half with an interception return for a touchdown that gave us momentum."

"With the game being 14-10 and us getting the ball to start the second half everything was kind of working in our favor. We felt good. In the second half our defense got tired and our offense couldn't manufacture anything positive. The result was a tired defense and an ineffective offense. So that's why the score ended up being 42-10."

Lawndale, which joined the Ocean League this season, opened the scoring 5:02 into the game with a short touchdown pass. Seven minutes later the Cardinals took a 14-0 lead on another short pass just seconds into the second quarter on their 'old school' natural turf field to the delight of the home-crowd fans, also celebrating the school's homecoming week.

The Centaur offense responded with a drive to put Tony Caiseros within field-goal range where he easily split the uprights with a 32-yard kick putting Culver on the scoreboard. Their defense toughened up as it has all year and denied several Cardinal advances for the remainder of the quarter.

Their perseverance paid off as the pendulum swung in Culver's favor on the last play of the first half: Coach Wright gave insight: "It ended up being a bad punt that allowed Lawndale to get very good field position just before the half ended. But they didn't gain any yards on that possession. It was third down and we were able to pick the ball off.

"We had a blitz called so their quarterback had to get rid of the ball quickly or take a sack. He got rid of the ball and Justin had good coverage and was able to run it back for an 85-yard touchdown."

Manyweather now has four touchdowns for the year including one in each of the team's last three games. He also led the team with three catches and ended up with a game-high 217 all-purpose yards. Tony Caiseros kicked the extra-point and the Centaurs were feeling good and confident as they gathered toward the visiting team's locker-room at halftime.

Coach liked his team's chances but they were short-lived: "At the beginning of the second half we got a personal foul penalty that backed us up and made it like first-and-35. So that kind of killed that drive and the momentum."

Lawndale kept riding the skills and success of their quarterback as he capped a long drive by running one in from about 20 yards with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Their lead now stretched to 21-10. But again the Culver defense stiffened to keep their team within striking distance going into the fourth quarter.

Wright knows his defense: "I'm proud of how we've played. I think there's room for improvement. For the defense there is no consolation for getting tired just because the offense isn't producing. I think we've done things well at times and the play has been spirited. But we can do a better job on defense and get more stops."

Eleven Centaurs had at least four tackles each with the leaders being: Simon Valenzuela with 11 including 9 solo tackles; Fred Wadibia had nine total, Ryland Sugars with eight. Justin Cox and Evan Tillman each had seven total. Wadibia also had two quarterback sacks with Kyle Mckiniss contributed one.

On offense Fred Poindexter emerged as a threat with 62 yards on nine carries according to Coach Wright: "I thought he was very effective. He went out there and ran hard. As a coaching staff we thought we had some advantages because of putting Donovan Davis in some space and putting Fred Poindexter in the backfield, placing two of our better playmakers on the field at the same time. We thought Fred did a pretty good job of running the ball for us on Friday night."

But eventually the defense wore down. The Cardinals put two more touchdowns on the board in the fourth quarter to send the winless Centaurs to their sixth defeat this season.

Coach gave Lawndale full props: "To Lawndale's credit their quarterback was very elusive. He's a talented young back that was able to make us miss. We take our hats off to them that they were able to make the plays. The credit goes to Lawndale."

Despite the start, Wright saw a no-quit attitude at practice this Monday afternoon: "We had an excellent Monday practice. The spirits are still high. The efforts are still good. Despite all the adversity, the injuries, the boys are still optimistic and excited about playing in their homecoming game."

Fred Altieri

Fred Wadlblat

A sobering fact is that league leader El Segundo is visiting the Culver campus this Friday night. The high-flying Eagles also happen to be coached by Culver High alum Steve Shevlin.

Whenever you play good football teams it's an opportunity to knock them off. El Segundo is 6-0 and coming off a CIF title appearance. They're ranked number two in the Western Division and have a very good quarterback.

"We're playing a very potent offense this week there's no better challenge than playing the best offense in our league. El Segundo has put up a lot of points this season. In fact they've put up more points than anyone in our league. We're going to go out there and fight with a solid game plan and try to put in a full game together. We're moving forward and we're excited about the next shot."


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