Culver Rolls To Another Football Win
September 22, 2016
A full harvest moon arose from the southern hills and smiled upon the 2016 Culver City High football team as it cruised to a second consecutive victory at home over a South Bay opponent. The Centurs controlled much of the game against North Torrance High, 37-14.
Despite the margin of victory the Centaurs missed a number of opportunities to put more points on the scoreboard at Jerry Chabola Stadium against a determined Saxon squad with a potent offensive backfield.
The Culver offense scored five touchdowns and one field goal in a game that was tied 7-7 after each team's first possession of the game. The high-scoring Centaurs had numerous weapons for starting junior quarterback Jonathan Martin to utilize as the team is averaging 39.67 points per game for the first three games of the season.
"We started off real fast with a 38-yard completion to Charles Ross. We threw another good pass to Kevin McGuire. Brandon Oum, who had a fantastic game, had a couple of real nice runs in the opening drive," said Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright.
"We actually ended up kicking a field goal on the first drive but they jumped offside so we were able to get the first down and keep the drive going."
Sophomore wide receiver Kevin McGuire, who caught six passes for 94 yards, gave Culver a 7-0 lead on a three-yard run. North High responded with a 39-yard touchdown pass to tie the score with 7:44 to go in the first quarter. The Saxons then intercepted a pass deep in their own territory to thwart the Centaur's next drive.
Coach Wright: "It was definitely a game of missed opportunities. I thought we did a good job of getting into the red zone and into scoring position on numerous occasions. We shot ourselves in the foot with interceptions and fumbles that really cost us probably another three or four touchdowns."
Martin scored on a three-yard quarterback keeper with five seconds to go in the first quarter to give Culver City a 14-7 lead, which it never relinquished for the remainder of the game. Martin ended up with nine rushing attempts for 27 yards and passed for 246 yards on 14 completions in 24 passing attempts.
Junior wide receiver Ross scored on a five-yard reception in the left corner of the end zone with 37 seconds remaining before halftime to give the Centaurs a 21-7 lead as the full moon continued to move west across the sky and into the clouds high above the goal posts and scoreboard.
The Centaur defensive line gave their offense time to breath throughout the third quarter as turnovers and penalties kept them out of the end zone. "We've had numerous occasions where the defense is going three-and-out, holding the opposing offense to where we get the ball right back," said Wright.
"There were two occasions on their first drive where we helped them out with pass interference calls and jumping offside. I thought we dominated the time of possession. We were able to move the ball up and down the field but we kept turning the ball over. That and too many penalties stopped us from putting a lot more points up on the board."
Junior kicker Carlos Barrillo connected on a 30-yard field goal to make it 24-7 Culver City midway through the third quarter. The Culver defense kept plenty of pressure on North's backfield despite yielding a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
The Centaurs scored two more touchdowns to finish off the game. Martin hit McGuire on a 13-yard pass to the left side of the end zone at 6:53 of the final quarter and tossed a 23-yard pass to Ross at 4:13 to nail the game shut.
Offensively, Culver was lead by Brandon Oum's 205 yards on 24 rushing attempts. Wright was impressed:
"Brandon Oum, in my opinion was the 'player of the game," said Wright "We haven't had a 200-yard rusher in a game in a very long time... 2009, I believe. He had a great game."
Oum has rushed for 365 yards total in the past two games. He attacked the North defense like a runner possessed, his non-stop high-thumping legs punishing and carrying numerous tacklers for extra yards after contact on many of his carries.
The offense kept rolling along: Ross had six receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. McGuire had six receptions for 94 yards and one touchdown. The team Offense featured 246 yards passing, 271 yards rushing for 517 yards of total offense.
Wright: "It's actually kind of fun to be able to pick and choose different players for each play because there's such a plethora of talent on the team right now."
The Culver defensive line won the battle of the trenches as they have been doing since last season. Coach Wright gave credit to his staff: "The defensive line is causing more penetration into the backfield. They're executing very well due to Coach Leo Zambrano, a former defensive lineman who played the same scheme for us back in 2009-10.
"He's definitely doing a good job of challenging the linemen and they're taking it upon themselves to go hard into the line of scrimmage. They're doing a great job."
The defensive highlights: junior defensive back Jamar Baines had 10 total tackles, six solos and four assists and one pass breakup. Junior middle linebacker Jordan Armstrong had eight total tackles, four solos and four assists. He also had one pass deflection and caused one fumble.
Senior defensive tackle and linebacker Cameron Williams had four tackles and two big quarterback sacks that stopped drives. Sophomore cornerback Tyler Luckett had six total tackles and four pass breakups.
"We got the win. So whenever we win there's a sense of satisfaction as a coaching staff. But we still feel that there's a lot of room for improvement. There's a lot of stuff that we need to clean up as far as turnovers and penalties. We need to execute more consistently," concluded Wright.
"I think once we clean that stuff up, not shoot ourselves in the foot and take advantage of every opportunity we have a pretty good team on our hands."
Culver City goes on the road this Friday, September 23, to University High in West Los Angeles for a 7 p.m. game start. Look for the Centaurs to put even greater numbers on the board.