Culver City Observer -

Culver Gives Lawndale Trouble But Loses


October 8, 2015

Fred Altieri

Jonathan Martin leads the Centaur attack

By Fred Altieri

Sports Reporter

The scoreboard was flashing constantly throughout the warm Friday evening at Jerry Chabola Stadium as Culver City High and Lawndale High lit it up for the 2015 Ocean League home opener on October 9.

It was a grand offensive affair that saw Lawndale outlast the Centaurs 48-41 as both teams combined for over 1,000 total yards. The differences in both attacks were stark.

Culver was effective by using the combined efforts of multiple players. The high-ranking Cardinals relied on the most impressive athlete in the league to run things from the quarterback position.

Lawndale quickly took the early lead with senior Chris Murray at the helm. Culver found themselves down 14-0 at 9:31 of the second quarter with Murray running 83 yards for the first score and two yards for the second touchdown.

"It was still early in the game. We had a good game plan. We moved the ball very well in our first series all the way down to the 20-yard line. And we didn't score," said Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.

"We knew we could move the ball on them. We were able to get it going on that third series we had the ball. Kyle Johnson caught a 46-yard slant for our first touchdown."

Johnson had his most productive game as a Centaur with seven receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns. His first was a short catch that exploded down the sidelines as he suddenly burned his defender on the outside and outsprinted the safety to the corner of the end zone.

Quarterback Jonathan Martin passed 17 yards on a perfect slant to Mason Mulvihill in the end zone at 3:40 before halftime to suddenly tie the game up, 14-14. The exchange startled the Cards into marching down the field for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead at the half.

Coach Wright on his balanced offense: "We take what the defense gives us. Mason was able to navigate his way through. Jonathan and Mason have developed a connection and it's paying dividends during the game.

"Both of our running backs did a good job. Fred Poindexter had 10 carries for 76 yards. Cahlil Hooper was able to have five carries for 87 yards with that long 52-yard touchdown run. Both backs were very effective. We have a real good one-two punch.

"Jonathan has definitely grown in the offense. He understands his responsibilities. He understands what he has to do and it's really helped him out a lot."

Lawndale wasted no time taking a 28-14 lead with a 67-yard burst on the first series of the second half. Culver responded. Johnson caught his second touchdown on a 12-yard Martin toss to make the score 28-21 at 8:03 in the third quarter.

Murray ran for two more long touchdowns as Lawndale pulled out to a 20-point lead. Wright offered: "He had a game that people dream about. He was an awesome athlete. He made it look easy. He's very, very talented, strong, fast, physical and confident. He was able to capitalize on us."

Wright wasn't completely pleased: "You can't give up 48 points. We didn't do a good job at all defensively. When the offense scores 41 points we should win the game. We have to do a lot better on defense."

Culver rebounded again with Martin using multiple targets. They capped their next drive with a 10-yard corner pass to Deven Osborne for a touchdown to end the quarter down, 41-27.

The Cards scored one minute into the fourth quarter to lead 48-27. One minute later Hooper's 52-yard run made it 48-34. "Cahlil was able to show that 100-meter speed. We needed a big, long strike real quick to not eat up a lot of the clock. He was able to bust off that long run and we didn't waste that much time getting into the end zone," said Wright.

The momentum shifted due to the evolving leadership of Martin who was 25/42 passing for 335 yards and five throwing touchdowns.

Wright: "Jonathan is starting to manage the game effectively without having turnovers which is kind of hard to do as a sophomore.

"He works very hard. Jonathan and I spend our lunches together going over films, going over reads when everybody else is out having fun. Jonathan is a real student of the game. We sit in my office and break down films, mistakes, and go over the game plan."

Defensive back Justin Cox stopped a Cardinal drive with an interception to set up Culver's final score. The 54-yard drive culminated with Johnson's third touchdown, a six-yard reception from Martin.

"The defensive backs were playing Kyle more towards the outside. So we adjusted our play and called an inside slant. It worked," said Wright.

Fred Altieri

Kyle Johnson catches his third touchdown of the game

The Centaurs are 3-3 for the season and preparing for another big game against 6-0 El Segundo High this Friday on the road.

Wright: "They're undefeated. They were Ocean League champs last year. It's an opportunity for us to make a name for ourselves by beating the fifth ranked team in the Western Division."

Offensively, the Centaurs are gelling and improving each week. Having played six quality games while going toe-to-toe against their three toughest opponents and averaging over 40 points for the last five games is not lost on Wright and his staff.

"It's just the character of the young men. The seniors have done such a great job as leaders and really wanted to enjoy their experience this year. Regardless of the circumstances they keep fighting, they keep playing. That's just the type of team we have."


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