With a New Quarterback, Culver Routs Santa Monica
October 29, 2015
By Fred Altieri
The Culver City High football team dominated archrival Santa Monica High, 49-0, on Friday, October 23 as the Centaurs rallied around their new starting quarterback.
The Centaurs spoiled the Vikings' homecoming game played at Santa Monica College on another warm autumn evening.
Santa Monica, usually a strong opponent, has an 0-8 record this season.
"It was a team effort. It was great to get a shutout. To give up zero points while scoring 49 is a great accomplishment," began Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.
After losing the league's leading passer, Jonathan Martin, last week due to a knee injury, the Centaurs put their season's dreams in the hands of quarterback Bryce Lewis-Wolfe. And he delivered with flying colors.
"I thought Bryce did a great job. It's a testament to him as a young man to work so hard. He's always staying ready and preparing like he is going to be the starter every week. So it wasn't a surprise when he got his opportunity to be the starter. And it's paid dividends," said Wright.
The game got off to a slow start before Culver scored at 3:44 of the first quarter on a four-yard corner pass from Lewis-Wolfe to Kyle Johnson for a 7-0 lead.
The Vikings responded, attempting to slow the game down by running on most of their offensive plays. The Centaurs were more than ready for the challenge as they registered their first shutout since beating Morningside High, 47-0, in November of 2013.
"Santa Monica definitely had a game plan of trying to milk the clock and playing keep away because they understood they didn't have a potent offense. They were going to try to play tough defense, run the ball and use the whole play clock," said Wright.
"We got off to a slow start offensively. We missed a couple of assignments in our pass blocking and screen game giving us negative plays. Once we got our rhythm I thought we did a good job."
The rhythm began when Lewis-Wolfe dashed 35 yards into the end zone at 5:00 of the second quarter for a 14-0 lead. The play ignited the Centaur offense into a scoring frenzy for the remainder of the half.
Wright: "Bryce scored on an option play where the quarterback is coached to read the defensive end. Bryce read the defensive end going to the running back, so he kept the ball, was able to make players miss and scored a touchdown."
On the next play, Culver kicker Anthony Lopez' perfect onside kick bounced over the Viking's return line and into the hands of a leaping Mekhi Ware, the league leader in interceptions, who successfully recovered the kick.
"We knew we would catch them by surprise because it's unconventional to do an onside kick in the second quarter. We wanted to hurry and get the ball back to our offense because we felt we had an advantage," added Wright.
A few plays later Johnson caught a five-yard pass from Lewis-Wolfe to make it 21-0, Culver at 2:44 of the first half. Then as the late-great Yogi Berra used to say: "It's déjà vu all over again." Lopez again beautifully placed an onside kick that was successfully recovered by Willie Williams.
A half dozen plays later Mason Mulvihill caught a 13-yard pass from Lewis Wolfe to make it 28-0, Culver at 1:13 of the first half. Santa Monica quickly moved downfield and set up for a field goal attempt with a few seconds remaining on the clock.
Enter Mulvihill, who flew in from the side and blocked the kick. Ever alert, defensive back Steven Ashby picked up the loose ball and outsprinted everyone 81 yards down the right sideline for a resounding 35-0 Culver lead at half.
The second half began with Johnson catching his third touchdown of the game on a 36-yard toss for a 42-0 lead. It was Johnson's 11th touchdown catch of the season leaving him two shy of tying the team record. It was also his second three-touchdown game of the season.
Wright added: "We have a lot of guys that can make an impact at the receiver position. Mason does a lot of the heavy lifting, has the most catches, is almost at 1,000 yards and has eight touchdowns. We have Kyle Johnson who has 28 catches and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers jump at you.
"But if you look, Mekhi has over 18 catches, Tye'ler Grant-brown has 12-13 catches, Deven Osborne has 12-13 catches, Justin Cox has over 10 catches. Robert Simon has almost 10 catches. So it's kind of hard to key on one receiver."
The Centaurs' final score came at 3:33 of the third quarter when Cahlil Hooper ran 17 yards for the touchdown. He literally dragged four Vikings into the end zone for the final six yards.
"Our scheme is what it is. It's a tribute to our coaching staff. Our coaching staff has prepped our players well so we're not going to change up our offense," said Wright.
"Jonathan and Bryce are two different players with two different skill sets but we're going to keep doing what we've been doing. It doesn't matter who's at quarterback, who's at running back, who's at receiver. We're going to keep playing and keep trying to score points.
"Bryce is a real good character. The team rallied around him because they know how hard he works and how seriously he takes it. I'm proud of him."
Wright finished up: "It's the homecoming game this week at Culver City High School. Hawthorne is no pushover. They have a very experienced coaching staff. They're on a three-game winning streak, are undefeated in league and tied for first place with Lawndale.
"We understand what's at stake. They have good athletes playing with confidence and they're coming in ready to knock us off. And we have to be ready to go."