Culver Conquers University, Awaits Talented Dorsey
September 29, 2016
Autumn 2016 ushered in the Culver City High football team with a three-game winning streak as the Centaurs systematically beat University High, 35-7, on Friday night, September 23, in West Los Angeles on the Wildcats' newly installed synthetic turf field.
The Centaurs jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first half before covering the Wildcats' lone score in the second half with one of their own in the fourth quarter. Despite the margin of victory Culver missed a number of other scoring opportunities throughout the evening as they improved their season record to 3-1.
City quarterback Jonathan Martin managed the offense with three touchdown passes, ran for another and didn't have a turnover in a game for the first time this year. The offense piled up 382 yards including 284 yards passing in 32 plays while rushing for 98 yards on 19 attempts.
"We came out with a purpose in the beginning of the game. We knew what to expect from their defense and we reacted pretty well throughout the entire game. We thought we were the better team but we wanted to jump on them early to send a message... and we did that," said Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.
He still lamented the missed chances in the first half: "We were down in the red zone two more times but came away with zero points. It was huge for us not to score on those possessions as I thought we needed to be more efficient."
Wide receiver Justin Cox scored the Centaurs' first touchdown on a 14-yard corner route pass from Martin on the game's opening drive.
Wright: "It's good to have Justin back. He's a senior, a three-year starter and adds explosiveness to our offense. It's good to know that it's not just one player doing it."
Martin targeted six different receivers during the game.
The Culver offense was lead by Oum, the leading rusher with 10 attempts for 94 yards and one touchdown and receiving by McGuire with six receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown. Ross had three receptions for 64 yards and one touchdown. Cox had four receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown.
Later in the 1st quarter Brandon Oum scored on a 17-yard inside counter play as broke multiple tackles and turned the corner into the end zone. His powerful runs have become a staple for this potent Centaur offense. Carlos Barillas kicked the second of his five successful extra point attempts as Culver led 14-0 going into the second quarter.
Coach Wright: "I'm proud of Brandon. He's such a hard worker. He had a great track season and a great off-season in the weight room. He worked really hard to build his body up and it's showing out there on the football field."
Martin scored on a two-yard quarterback keeper to make it 21-0 at 11:36 of the second quarter. Two minutes and change later he connected with Kevin McGuire for the "play of the game," an outside screen pass.
It was the first play of the drive and McGuire went untouched as he caught a short pass and exploded out of the backfield, outran and outmaneuvered the University secondary for 50 yards and a 28-0 lead. Then suddenly the scoring dried up until late in the third quarter.
"Jonathan had some good spots and conducted the offense fairly well. He was pretty efficient and this was the first game of the season where he didn't have any turnovers. I'm very happy with that as well. He's doing a better job of running and reading the plays," said Wright.
"We are kind of a rhythm team. When things go well they keep going well. But when our offense is out of sorts it's hard for us to reach back and get our groove. That's what we're working on, putting together good plays when we're not having a lot of success."
Wright credited the Wildcats: "I thought we played good defense as far as keeping Uni out of the end zone. One thing we need to improve upon is getting more stops. They were allowed to get a lot of first downs and keeping us from getting the ball. Moving forward we just want to be more consistent."
University scored their only touchdown at 3:50 of the third quarter on a 25-yard run to make it 28-7, Culver City. Seconds into the fourth quarter Charles Ross caught a pass at the 11-yard line and busted through between two tacklers at the goal line for the final score.
Wright: "The touchdown to Charles Ross was a short out. Jonathan made the correct decision to throw the short pass because the Uni cornerback went with the slot receiver. Charles was able to get the ball into the end zone."
The Centaurs will play their final pre-league game of the season before Ocean League begins this Friday as they host the Dorsey High Dons on the football field for the first time in the school's history. It's a home-and-home series where Culver will play at Dorsey's field next year. Dorsey is 2-2 on the season and suffered a tough loss to a very good St. Francis team last Friday night, 35-28.
"They have a lot of talent. They're physical, they're fast, they're big up on the line of scrimmage and they match up well with us. So it's going to be a great game. It's going to be a battle. We're excited about the challenge." finished Wright.
"We want to invite everyone from the Culver City community to show up big. We're expecting a sellout crowd and ready to have at it. We're playing an L.A. City power and want to represent Culver City in the right way. Come out and support Culver City High School."