Culver Gets First Win Of Football Season
September 17, 2015
By Fred Altieri
The hint of a late ocean breeze graced the Culver City High football team as the Centaurs visited Peninsula High in the Rolling Hills Estates of Palos Verdes for their second game of the 2015 season.
The Centaurs scored six touchdowns with a touch of vengeance and readily beat a stubborn Peninsula High squad, 41-28 on the warm and hazy Friday September 11 afternoon.
The Panthers, who won in a 19-14 upset at Culver City last year, scored on a 15-yard run in the first drive of the game to take a 7-0 lead. Culver reacted decisively with three touchdowns before the end of the half.
Culver head coach Jahmal Wright responded: "Offensively we did a pretty good job of executing our game plan. We came in with the intention of trying to set the tone by running the football which we were able to do."
"We had some big plays through the passing game though we weren't as efficient as I would like us to be. I was happy that we were able to create explosive plays and score points."
"But for them to march downfield on their first drive and score on us, we've got to do a better job of getting stops and setting the tone early."
Running back Fred Poindexter ignited the Culver attack with a 32-yard touchdown burst along the visitor's sideline. One quarter later at 5:15 of the 2nd quarter wide-receiver Mason Mulvihill made his mark with a catch and dash from past midfield right into the end zone.
"We were able to gain a speed advantage against Peninsula. The way they played their defense allowed us to create big plays and get by them. Our offense was pretty balanced," said Wright.
"Cahlil Hooper was able to score a touchdown in the first half and one in the second. His first touchdown was a dive-play up the middle, we blocked pretty well and he was actually untouched. He was able to use his sprinter's speed to split the safeties and run for something like a 40-yard touchdown."
Hooper ran through the entire Peninsula secondary and into end zone with 1:30 left in the half and a 21-7 lead. Quarterback Jonathan Martin directed an efficient offense using multiple receivers and running backs but also protected the ball.
Coach Wright: "In Jonathan Martin's first game he had a couple of interceptions, turnovers and mishandling of the ball. And for us to have no turnovers in this game is a definite improvement.
"Coming out of the second half our plan was to hopefully extend our lead out to not give the other team any hope. But we didn't really start fast and we pretty much let them back into the game."
The Panthers moved 70 yards, capped it off with a nine-yard touchdown toss. The extra point attempt was no good. Culver's lead was 21-13 at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter.
On their next possession Peninsula had the ball deep in Culver territory. But Cahlil Hooper applied defensive pressure this time with a clean strip of the ball and the recovery as well. A 39-yard pass from Martin to Mekhi Ware put the Centaurs on the 22-yard line.
Martin pitched out to Hooper, now at running back, as he went untouched into the end zone and a 27-13 Culver lead before the end the 3rd quarter. The extra point attempt was blocked.
Now switching to defensive back it was Mulvihill's, turn to stem the Panther drive with Peninsula deep in Culver territory once again. Mulvihill fought off the receiver for position and intercepted the ball at the goal line.
Coach Wright: "I thought we didn't start as fast as we wanted to on defense but thought Mason Mulvihill did a good job of creating big plays for us and separation in the score."
The Panthers struck again to pull within seven points with 6:37 remaining in the game. And once again Martin and Mulvihill teamed up for the game winning play. Coach Wright set the play:
"Martin avoided the outside linebacker and then passed it to the outlet, Mason. If the linebacker doesn't come in the quarterback keeps it. So he made the right read, made a good throw and Mason did the rest."
Mulvihill caught the ball near the left sideline at the 20-yard line, then zigzagged and sprinted 80 yards through the Panther defensive backfield at a diagonal into the right side of the end zone for a 34-21 lead.
The Centaurs scored minutes later on a 25-yard sideline pass, catch and run from Martin to senior wide receiver Kyle Johnson. With a few minutes remaining in the game the Panthers drove downfield and scored on an 8-yard pass to end the scoring.
Wright summed it up: "The goal is to try to win these games. Winning definitely gives us more confidence moving forward. Defensively I thought we played well in spurts. We also recovered a pooch kick as well. I was a little disappointed in some of the penalties that we had."
"We basically caused five turnovers. We were able to get three interceptions as Cameron Hooper at cornerback also had one. Giving up 28 points is not really what we want but it's a good performance to build off of.
"Overall I was happy with our offensive performance because we had no turnovers. We're still a work in progress. It's a young team but we have some stuff to build on. We're 1-1 and excited about the rest of the season."