After a Slow Start Culver Football Romps

Sports Reporter

The trap was set at Torrance High's Zamperini Stadium last Friday against a very lethal Culver City High football team. The opening chess-like strategy worked for much of the first half as the Centaur high-octane offense was fundamentally kept off the field. But eventually talent, speed, coaching and execution won the nightas the Centaurs routed the Tartars in the second half for a 48-20 victory.

"I'm always pleased when our team gets a victory," said Culver head coach Jahmal Wright. We knew that Torrance possessed a ball-control offense and their goal is to try and slow the game down. That's what we were trying to guard against."

To Torrance's credit they were able to move the ball two and three yards a play all the way down the field. They tried to make the game a little bit shorter because they knew we had weapons. But we were able to respond. We scored right before half with our two-minute offense."

The Torrance ground attack ate up over nine minutes of the clock on the game's opening drive. The Tartars took a 7-0 lead on a five-yard push across the goal line with 2:27 remaining in the first quarter. OnCulver's first drive of the game quarterback Jonathan Martin responded with a deep pass to Chris Miller at the Torrance 30-yard line. However, a forced fumble gave the ball back to the Tartars.

Following a Torrance punt Martin and company got to work early in the second quarter. Two passes later a wide-open Kevin McGuire caught a 22-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7. Culver City never trailed after that. The Centaurs finally took a 13-7 lead with 13 seconds to go in the first half. Martin engineered a textbook last minute 56-yard drive into a strong wind. A diving Charles Ross cradled a 28-yard pass in the end zone.

The Culver coaching staff made defensive adjustments at the half to pressure the Torrance rushing game. Wright: "We were able to get the ball a lot more in the second half. Our defense kind of switched up the defensive scheme and put Torrance in second and third long situations. So we were able to get the ball back sooner."

The Centaurs scored on the opening drive of the second half and never looked back. This time Martin threw a deeper pass to Ross who burned his coverage down the left side for a 39-yard touchdown. One offensive series later Martin threw a 40-yard pass to McGuire setting up a six-yard touchdown toss to Joshua Ford to lead 27-7 after three quarters.

Torrance scored on a 34-yard pass early in the fourth quarter. Culver retaliated with 5:21 in left the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Brandon Oum set up by a 38-yard circus catch by Alex Smith from Martin. Two minutes later Torrance reeled off a long touchdown run to trail by 38-20 as the Tartars rushed over 300 totalyards for the game.

Wright: "I'm a little disappointed in our run defense right now. Two games in we've allowed our opponents to run the ball with success. I want to shore up that part of our defense. We only had 32 total offensive plays against Torrance and we usually average over 60 plays a game. So they shortened the game immensely."

Culver saved their most explosive play for last as Martin connected on an 80-yard bomb to Jamal Glaspie down the right side for his fifth touchdown pass of the game. The Centaurs only had 12 rushing plays and 20 passing for the game. They rushed for 138 yards rushing and passed for 392 yards. Gaining a total of 530 yards on only 32 plays while scoring 48 points said it all.

Martin's game stats were even more efficient than last week's performance against West Torrance when he earned Southern California Player of the Week honors. He completed 16/20 passes for 392 yards while throwing for five touchdowns. In the first two games this season he has completed 44/57 passes for 929 yards, an average of 21.1 yards per completion along for a .772 completion ratio and a QB rating of 158.1 and no interceptions thrown.

"Jonathan has been doing this for a couple of years now. He's very experienced and talented. He's pretty much seen every situation so he's ready for those moments," said Wright. "Jonathan has a whole arsenal of weapons to throw the ball to. On any given day it can be any receiver that's able to get open and make an explosive play."

Culver's slew of receivers racked up the numbers. Kevin McGuire caught five passes for 98 yards and one touchdown. Charles Ross caught four passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns to bring his season total to five touchdowns on only eight receptions. Jamal Glaspie caught two passes for 109 yards including the 80-yard touchdown reception.

Alex Smith caught two passes for 53 yards. Joshua Ford caught a six-yard pass for a touchdown. Chris Miller caught one pass for 39 yards and Brandon Oum had one reception for 12 yards. Oum led the team in rushing with eight carries for 72 yards and one touchdown. Ford had three carries for 62 yards including one run for 51 yards.

Robert Smith led the defense with 16 total tackles including eight solo tackles and one forced fumble. Cortez Wright had 15 total tackles and eight solos. Tah'je Ward had 13 total tackles and five solos. Aaron Leach had 10 tackles with six solos and Nick Bradley added 10 tackles, five solos and one fumble recovery.

"Ultimately, I liked the way the team responded in the second half but we have a lot of things we have to clean up to play at the caliber and accomplish the goals we have set for the season. I'm pleased with the team's progression so far," said Wright.

The Centaurs (2-0) travel to North High in Torrance this Friday to take on the 2-1 Saxons. It will be the third of five non-league matchups for Culver City before Ocean League competition begins in October.

"North is going to be a great test for us," said Wright. "They're athletic and have some good defensive backs that will challenge our receivers. They have speed and also run the no-huddle spread offense. It'll be a good matchup on what they do well and what we do well. It's going to be fun to watch."


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