Lawndale Hands Culver Its First Loss

Lawndale 33 - Culver City 14

Friday the 13th lived up to its unlucky reputation as Culver City High lost 33-14 to visiting Lawndale High in front of a capacity home-crowd at Jerry Chabola Stadium.

The mid-October battle between the Ocean League's football powers featured the Centaurs' swift aerial attack against the Cardinals' dominant ground assault.

Ultimately it was Lawndale junior running back Jordan Wilmore who stole the show with his dynamic and relentless rushing. He cut through the Centaur defensive line and punished the linebackers and secondary on the outside sweeps for 292 yards. Jordan pushed his season rushing yards per game average over the 217 mark. His three touchdowns were the margin of victory against Culver.

"Jordan Wilmore is probably the best football player on our side of town," acknowledged Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright. "To go against him and up close and personal, he's a special talent. He's fun to watch and tough to compete against.

"Their offensive line was probably the biggest we've faced in a pretty long time. They were physical and opened up a bunch of big holes. Their running game was very imposing and they controlled the clock. Their running backs are good but their offensive line definitely deserves a lot of credit as well."

Lawndale opened the game with a Wilmore 60-yard touchdown run down the right sideline on the second play from scrimmage. The Ocean League's leading quarterback Jonathan Martin responded immediately, driving the Centaurs 80 yards in nine plays culminating with a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Smith.

"That was a post corner route. We saw man-to-man coverage. Alex Smith is a big chance football player and we saw an opportunity. It was a good throw and an excellent catch," said Wright. "We have some talented athletes that are capable of making plays and that's pretty much what we rely on week in and week out to be successful."

Unfortunately for Culver the Cardinals drove the length of the field in 11 plays ending with a Wilmore six-yard touchdown run. They missed the extra-point attempt kick for a 13-7 lead. The Centaurs answered on the next drive with a long 40-yard bomb from Martin to wide receiver Jamal Glaspie to the Lawndale 40-yard line. Four plays later, Culver was forced to punt due to another stalled drive.

"Lawndale dominated the time of possession. The type of offense we run we need some kind of rhythm and continuity," said Wright. "When we got the ball on offense we were three-and-out. It was hard to get a rhythm, a feel for the game because we weren't on the field as much as we'd like to have been. To Lawndale's credit they did a good job of making plays on defense and being physical."

Lawndale scored on a 34-yard pass midway through the second quarter. Again they didn't convert the extra-point attempt as Robert Simon rushed through the line to block the kick. The Centaurs again failed to mount a drive and settled for their lowest first half output of the season.

The Cardinals scored twice more in the third quarter with their consistent running game setting the pace. The first was Wilmore's 48-yard left-right-left through the line and into the end zone. The second touchdown was a 13-yard power-right run before the end of the quarter.

Culver City started the fourth quarter with a drive deep in Lawndale territory before Martin was picked off at the 10-yard line. But the Centaurs came up with a big defensive play from Augustus Fraser and Alex Smith as Lawndale was seemingly running for another long touchdown. Fraser tackled and forced a fumble from the Cardinal ball carrier as Smith recovered the ball just before the Culver goal line.

The Centaurs responded on cue with the longest drive of the season. 11 plays and 99 yards later Martin connected on a beautiful leaping, catch-over-the-coverage, diving backwards catch into the end zone by wide receiver Kevin McGuire for a 28-yard touchdown reception. Carlos Barillas connected for his second extra-point kick and the game's final score.

"We had three receivers split out to one side. They were in man-to-man coverage and Jonathan saw a matchup he liked. He threw a pass to the corner of the end zone and Kevin was able to adjust to make a very good play. Our offense had opportunities in the second half that we didn't cash in on," said Wright.

"We were in striking distance. We just had a hard time getting off the field on defense. We would have them in favorable down-and-distance situations and all of sudden they would bust off a big run to get a first down. They kind of just wore us down. It was a constant pounding."

Martin added two touchdown passes to his season total of 30. He completed 23/41 passes for 292 yards with one interception thrown. Brandon Oum led in Culver rushing with 35 yards on seven carries. McGuire led all receivers with six catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. Glaspie also caught six passes for 72 yards, Smith had three catches for 38 yards and one touchdown while Oum caught three for 29 yards.

Fraser led the defense with 13 tackles including eight solo tackles, five assisted tackles and two tackles for loss. Jamar Baines had 12 total tackles, eight solos and four assists. Robert Simon had 11 total, five solos and six assists. Cortez Wright had 10 total tackles, four solos and six assists. Tah'je Ward contributed nine total tackles including four solos and five assisted tackles.

The win gives Lawndale (7-0 overall, 2-0 in league), sole possession of first place in the Ocean League with three weeks remaining in the season. Culver (6-1, 1-1) is tied in second place with El Segundo (6-1, 1-1), Hawthorne (5-2, 1-1) and Santa Monica (2-5, 1-1). Beverly Hills remains winless at 0-7 overall and 0-2 in league. Lawndale hosts El Segundo this Friday in the last critical matchup of the Ocean League this season. Santa Monica visits Beverly Hills.

The Centaurs host the Hawthorne High Cougars this Friday. Coach Wright: "I expect Hawthorne to come in and give us a good game. They're fighting for their playoff lives. They're 5-2 and have only lost two games. We've lost one so they have a very good record. We have to match their intensity and be ready to play."


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/13/2024 11:37