Culver Loses Quarterback For Rest Of Season
On an 80-yard run Martin suffers knee injury
October 22, 2015
By Fred Altieri
Culver City High football team's 42-31 loss at El Segundo High on Friday, October 16 was a very bitter pill to swallow. The Centaurs jumped out to a quick lead that held up for three quarters against the undefeated and defending Ocean League champion Eagles.
A few seconds before the third quarter ended Culver quarterback Jonathan Martin left the game with a season-ending injury following a long run in which he was tackled from behind just three yards shy of the end zone.
The loss of Martin cannot be understated. The Centaurs' resurgent offense this season is a direct result of his quarterback and leadership skills. He leads the Ocean League with 2,184 total yards and 1,772 passing yards through seven games. He's fifth overall in rushing yards with 412.
"It's definitely tough whenever you have a player of Jonathan's caliber going out. He was having such a great game. He threw for over 250 yards and three touchdowns. He just busted off an 85-yard run and he really had the offense clicking," lamented Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.
"He has a pretty bad knee injury. We're waiting for the results to see if the prognosis is correct. We won't know for sure until we get the x-rays back. He's not going to play for the rest of the season."
Culver took a 7-0 lead in its first drive with a five-yard fourth-down touchdown pass from Martin to Mason Mulvihill who caught the ball right on the goal line.
Six minutes later Martin hooked up again with Mulvihill on a classic 75-yard catch-and-run bomb for a 14-0 lead that caught the Eagles attention. Urgently, El Segundo scored one minute later on a 55-yard dash to make the score 14-7.
Wright on the first two scores: "We definitely wanted a touchdown on our first drive but El Segundo did a pretty good job of stopping our run. We couldn't connect with Kyle on the outside so we went with our main guy Mason and he came through for us"
"The long touchdown to Mason was a play designed up the middle. We've run it a couple of times this season and have been successful with it. We saw a favorable matchup and called it."
Just before the half ended Martin moved the Centaurs downfield to set up a 25-yard field goal by Anthony Lopez who also converted all four extra-point attempts.
"We were up 24-14 at halftime. We had only stalled once when Jonathan threw an interception. That was our only stopped drive. We pretty much moved the ball up and down the field in the first half," said Wright.
El Segundo scored minutes into the second half on an 11-yard pass to their all-purpose back, Taz Tauaese, the Ocean League's leading scorer and rusher. Tauaese ended up scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 145 yards against Culver City.
Following a Centaur drive aborted by a fumble at midfield El Segundo methodically moved to the one-yard line where they punched it in for their first lead of the game at 28-21.
On first down following the kickoff Martin took off from the Centaurs' 13-yard line and ran 83 yards. It would be his last play of the season.
Culver took its last lead at 31-28 on the first play of the fourth quarter as Kyle Johnson caught a touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone from backup quarterback Bryce Lewis-Wolfe.
Coach Wright: "When Jonathan went out of the game it created a change. To Bryce's credit I thought he did a good job of coming in and throwing that touchdown pass to Kyle to give us back the lead."
Following an exchange of punts El Segundo regrouped, marched and scored with 5:29 left in the game on a 23-yard pass to Tauaese. Culver still had plenty of time to retake the lead but got pinned deep in its own territory. The momentum stopped swinging and with it the game.
"We got one first down. On the second set we ran on first down, then thought we could throw the ball to Kyle that ended up sideline out of bounds. Then we had a pretty good play called but we didn't execute. It kind of cost us," added Wright.
The Eagles scored one last time on a 13-yard pass with three minutes remaining. The Centaurs' last gasp was a drive ending in a tipped interception.
"Bryce did a pretty good job on the last drive getting us some first downs and moving the ball down the field. He is more than capable of helping lead our team."
The next game is against archrival Santa Monica High this Friday at Santa Monica College that could decide Culver's playoff hopes. Next, home games against Hawthorne and Beverly Hills round up the league season.
Wright concluded: "We understand what's in front of us. We're fighting for our playoff lives. It's imperative that we take it one game at a time and try to run it out. We had a couple of opportunities against Lawndale and El Segundo that we weren't able to cash in on.
"But we're getting better every week. I know there are no moral victories in football but we have a lot to hang our hat on. Our boys play hard. They play with a lot of courage and fight. And we're going to take that same intensity into Santa Monica.
"We take our hat off to El Segundo. We let one get away. It was a heartbreaking loss but we will recover. Definitely."