Improving Culver Wins Second Football Game


October 1, 2015

Fred Altieri

Fred Poindexter - Touchdown!

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

The 2015 season is still young but the Culver City High football team's 34-21 victory over University High on September 25 may have been the turning point as they evened their record to 2-2.

There will be one game remaining before Ocean League play begins.

The offense led by quarterback Jonathan Martin had its third productive game in a row. The Centaurs scored five more touchdowns to run the season total to 16 while averaging 36 points per game over the past three games.

However, it was the Culver defense that shined against the Wildcats from West Los Angeles as it registered multiple sacks, loss of yards tackles and turnovers that defined the win. Culver defensive back Mekhi Ware stood out with three interceptions.

"Defensively I thought we did a great job. We were able to cause five turnovers and that was the difference in the game," opened Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.

"Whenever you can have ten tackles for loss and five sacks... that's 15 plays where we caused negative yardage. That is a big plus. That means were doing a good job getting penetration and stopping the other team.

"Offensively we were kind of up and down. We didn't execute exactly how I wanted to but I can't complain about the results: three touchdowns in the second half. I'll take that."

Unihi took a 7-0 lead minutes into the game with a 20-yard touchdown following a blocked punt that gave them great field position. Following an exchange of possessions Centaur Alex Sanchez made a leaping interception at midfield setting up Culver's first score.

Coach Wright: "Fred Poindexter scored our first touchdown on a short run. We got the ball off of an interception giving us a short field on the 50-yard line.

"We started off with a 34-yard play to Kyle Johnson. Poindexter had a 14-yard run down to the one-yard line and he was then able to punch it in. That was a three-play drive."

Minutes later Ware put his initial stamp on the game with a touchdown-saving interception in Culver's end zone. Two plays later Martin sprinted through the Wildcat defense for a 79-yard touchdown and a 14-7 lead at 10:02 of the second quarter.

"Jonathan scored our second touchdown on an option play. He made the right read. He's one of the better sprinters and hurdlers on the track team and definitely has some game-breaking abilities," said Wright.

Unihi rallied before halftime and was only down 14-13 as their two-point conversion attempt failed. The Centaurs had controlled much of the game but penalties kept them from taking advantage.

Coach Wright: "I thought we shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties and put ourselves in some first-and-long situations. We had a lot of penalties that stymied our progress.

"In the second half we settled down and executed our game plan. We made a couple of subtle coaching adjustments on how they were playing us. Jonathan was able to make enough plays to springboard us into taking a significant lead."

Ware made his second interception giving the Centaurs excellent field position. That set up Martin's 18-yard touchdown toss to Kyle Johnson inside the right goal line marker. The extra-point attempt was blocked and Culver had a 20-13 lead.

The Centaur defense forced a punt and Martin ran it in from the one-yard line for his second running touchdown of the game at the start of the fourth quarter and a 27-13 lead.

Another punt gave Culver the ball near midfield. Two plays later Martin hit Mason Mulvihill on a short pass. Mulvihill proceeded to split the defense in half as he bolted 52 yards into the end zone. Culver led 34-13 with 10:15 left to go in the game.

The Wildcats managed to score two late touchdowns to make the final score closer but their fate had already been sealed. The Centaur defense had left its mark.

Coach Wright: "We were able to force three fumbles and recovered one of them. We were able to have ten tackles for loss. As a coach we encourage those because those are negative plays we put on the offense."

"Antwon Smith is definitely turning into one of our better defensive players. He's playing hard, physical and he's a force on the inside. Richard Yoshida and Kyle McKinniss had a great game as well.

"The defensive player of the game was Mekhi Ware. He had two tackles, one pass breakup, three interceptions returned for 41 yards. He did a really good job neutralizing Uni's best offensive player."

Defensively, Smith had 14 tackles, nine solos and five assists, one sack, three tackles for loss and one interception. McKinniss had nine total tackles, five solos and four assists, two sacks and three tackles for loss.

Yoshida had eight total tackles, six solos and two assists, three tackles for loss and one caused fumble. Cameryn Newman had two sacks, six total tackles, three solos and three assists, and two sacks.

Offensively, the Centaurs had 238 yards rushing, 166 yards passing for 404 yards total, 29 rushing plays and 21 passing plays.

Jonathan Martin - Touchdown!

Martin was 9/20 passing for 163 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had 10 rushing attempts for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Poindexter rushed 12 times for 84 yards and one touchdown.

Receiving, Mulvihill had five receptions for 95 yards and 1 touchdown. Johnson had two receptions for 51 yards and 1 touchdown.

"After four games I think we're on the right track. It's always great when you can match the win total that you had the previous year in the first four games this year. The future is very bright with each week an improvement for our team," concluded Wright.

"We had six sophomores starting on Friday night. Six. That's a significant number and for them to be performing at a high level mixed in with everyone else we have on the team... The best is yet to come with us."


Reader Comments(3)

FredA writes:

Hi Jarrenr1, We certainly will keep mentioning your brother's exploits on the field and will consider doing an article on him should he break the school record for interceptions. Mekhi is also an integral part of the the Centaurs' explosive offense this year as you well know.

jarrenr1 writes:

(cont.) breaks that record well this paper have an article on it.

jarrenr1 writes:

Hello mr.altieri i'm new reader and happen to enjoy your articles on culver high football. Also my brother is apart of the team ( mekhi ware #3). Me and my family appreciate all that you have said about him and how you have highlighted his mid season accomplishments. With that said i had a question for you sir. I dont if your aware but currently my brother is 5 interceptions away from the school record with five games left. He also leads the nation catagory with (9). I just wanted to know if he


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