Culver City Observer -

Dorsey Outlasts Culver In Classic Game


October 6, 2016

Fred Altieri

Centaurs take the field vs. Dorsey High

The first ever Culver City High – Dorsey High football game lived up to the hype. The Centaurs ultimately lost to the visiting Dons, 35-31 in a highly-spirited, physically-punishing, speed-infused battle on Friday night, September 30 at Jerry Chabola Stadium.

The 2016 inaugural battle was decided when a Culver winning-drive was cut short by a fourth down interception at the goal line with time running out. Dorsey proceeded to use its imposing size and matching speed to methodically march downfield, run out the clock and savor the victory.

"They scored two touchdowns on us so early in the game. With so much time left we were just taking it one possession at the time to get back into the game. We had a good game plan," began Culver head coach Jamal Wright.

"Going into the second quarter and we hadn't gotten into our rhythm yet. But that second series we were able to put some positive plays together. Dorsey had size. They had speed and athleticism. It was good for us to face an opponent like that. Down the road we'll be ready because of it.

"Jonathan (Martin, starting quarterback) actually started off the game really hot. He completed 15 of his first 17 passes. So we were able to march right down the field and score."

An early second quarter touchdown on a 26-yard pass from Martin to Mekhi Ware pulled Culver to within 14-7. They also dodged a bullet on the next series when a Dorsey touchdown was negated by a penalty. The Centaurs grabbed the opportunity.

"That was a huge momentum swing in our favor because the play before they had just ran for another touchdown but it got called back. So the very next play for us to score on a pick-six..." said Wright. Inside linebacker Aaron Carey intercepted a pass and ran into the end zone to tie the score at 14-14.

Dorsey responded with a 50-yard pass play for the touchdown and a 21-14 lead. The Centaurs stormed right back with a long march ending with Brandon Oum and his front line pushing the ball over from the one-yard line.

Coach Wright: "Brandon was able to use a lot of strength and power through a couple of defenders and get into the end zone. We were able to throw the ball but we definitely had a hard time running it.

"Just before the half we were able to march down the field. It was a real good drive. There was a little more than a minute left on the clock and we started close to our own 20. We marched about 80 yards down the field very quickly." Kicker Carlos Barillas kicked an 18-yard field goal to give the Centaurs a 24-21 halftime lead.

The Blue and White home crowd became electrified as Culver received the kickoff to begin the second half. Alex Smith returned the ball 93 yards on pure shifting and speed and into the end zone for a 31-21 lead. But Culver's 31-7 run was coming to a halt.

"Alex is one of the better athletes on the team. He's a three-sport athlete. He's on the track team and plays baseball as well. He's such a hard worker and high-character kid. So for him to experience success on a big play in a big game is very nice," said Wright.

"We opened up the second half with a kickoff return, which I was happy with but we didn't have the ball much on offense. We only had three possessions total. It was hard for us to have any offensive rhythm. Dorsey had three different 90-yard drives that ate up a lot of the clock. All those drives they were primarily running the ball."

Dorsey scored on a nine-yard pass in the third quarter and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth on a 47-yard post-pattern. "I was disappointed that we lost the game but proud of how our team fought and how much we stayed together. We didn't waver, encouraged each other."

There were other positives according to Wright: "We were able to cause a lot of turnovers. We didn't make them punt at all but we kept forcing turnovers: stripping the ball out, getting some fumbles and an interception.

"When we did punt the ball our punter, Robert Simon, did a very good job of pinning him back deep in their end zone. So even though they did score it took them a long time to get into the end zone because they had to go 90-plus yards a couple of times."

Fred Altieri

Kevin McGuire (2), Mekhi Ware (3) and Jonathan Martin (7) celebrate Culver touchdown

Centaur offensive leaders: Jonathan Martin was 25/37 for 294 yards and one touchdown. Brandon Oum 10 rushing attempts for 24 yards. Kevin McGuire had six receptions for 100 yards. Mekhi Ware had six receptions for 93 yards and one touchdown. Charles Ross had four receptions for 43 yards.

Centaur team stats: 38 passing plays and 19 rushing plays for 57 total plays. 294 yards passing and 50 yards rushing for 344 total yards. Turnovers: one interception and three fumble recoveries for four total turnovers.

The Centaurs begin 2016 Ocean League action this Friday, October 7, hosting the undefeated El Segundo Eagles in perhaps the league game of the year. Culver finished the nonleague season at 3-2.

Wright: "Friday is our homecoming game. It's a huge game for us. We think we're battle-tested and ready to take El Segundo on. They're 5-0 and played some quality teams. They're playing good football so it should be a great game."


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