Culver Wins Easily In Homecoming Game

Final Score 47-0

Culver City High football crowned its 2017 Homecoming Game with a 47-0 victory over visiting Hawthorne High on Friday, October 20, before an overflowing crowd of reveling students and jubilant supporters at Jerry Chabola Stadium. The 6-1 Centaurs, ranked #1 among CIF Division 11 schools, overwhelmed the 5-3 Cougars from the opening kickoff.

It took all of eight seconds from the opening whistle for Culver's premier returner, Alex Smith, to attack the Cougar's spearheaded coverage, cut right and explode down the sideline and into the endzone to kick off the festivities. It was Smith's second kickoff return touchdown of the season.

"Alex definitely has a knack. Throughout the past two seasons he's had numerous long kickoff returns that definitely set the tone for the game," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright. "Then Brandon (Oum) was able to get us on the board quick with a three-yard touchdown and a 13-yard touchdown run. We were able to strike quickly and get everyone involved."

Senior quarterback Jonathan Martin directed the Centaurs on a near-flawless first half when the team scored all of the game's 47 points. Brandon Oum powered in the first of his two touchdown runs at 3:46 of the first quarter. Alex Smith set up the second Culver drive with an 18-yard punt return. Oum added his second score as the first quarter ended when he swept and attacked right.

Things were just warming up for Martin as he threw a 44-yard touchdown bomb to a wide-open Kevin McGuire three minutes into the second quarter. "Kevin McGuire caught a 44-yard post touchdown route. Kevin is pretty tough to cover man-to-man and he was able to get behind the defense. Jonathan threw a terrific pass and we were able to score," said Wright.

Meanwhile, the Centaur defense was having a field day smothering the Cougar offense. Outside linebacker Aaron Carey tackled the Hawthorne quarterback for a safety and a 30-0 lead. Wright: "It was a great play by Aaron Carey. Hawthorne tried to run the ball around their left end. Aaron got his hand on the football and stripped it. The quarterback tried to pick it up and Aaron was right there to tackle him."

Culver kicker Carlos Barillas got into the act with a 37-yard field goal to make it 33-0 and converted all six extra-point attempts. He is having an All-League season having made all six of his field goal attempts while converting 42 of 46 extra-point attempts, good for 60 total points. Wright: "Carlos has been solid all year. He hasn't missed a field goal yet and is definitely a weapon to have."

Minutes later, Martin connected on a picture-perfect 54-yard touchdown pass with McGuire as the wide receiver sprinted up the sideline, caught the ball in full stride and galloped untouched into the end zone to the crowd's wild celebration. McGuire leads Culver receivers this season with 30 receptions for 678 total yards and eight touchdowns.

The Centaurs' final score was set up by a 28-yard textbook throw from Martin to wide receiver Jamal Glaspie who made a fine catch at the Hawthorne eight-yard line. One play later Martin hit wide receiver Chris Miller in the endzone to end the first half rout.

Wright: "Chris Miller is doing a great job of filling-in in Charles Ross' absence. Chris is only a sophomore and is gaining valuable experience and we're all proud of him. He's working hard and deserves all the opportunities that he's been given."

Following the halftime crowning of the Homecoming Queen and King, the game clock was put in non-stop mode due to the disparity in the score. Wright sent in most of his reserves to finish out the win. Backup quarterback Zevi Echaus came in for a fourth quarter series and showed his potential in moving the Centaurs down field.

"We were winning the game 47-0 and we have a team of 52 players. So that's an opportunity and everyone's worked hard in practice. Everybody deserves an opportunity and a chance to play on Friday night. It's homecoming and everybody's family is there," said Wright.

"Zevi's only a freshman and did a great job. It's been a long time since we had a freshman quarterback play in a varsity game. He's poised, he completed all four passes he threw and executed well. So we're proud of Zevi."

Offensively, Martin had another impressive performance completing 12/15 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns. Echaus added to the team's high QB rating by completing all four passes thrown for 55 yards total. Oum led the team in rushing with five carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns.

Glaspie led in catches with five for 83 total yards. McGuire had four catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Miller caught three passes for 22 yards and one touchdown and Tyler Luckett caught two for 19 yards. Joshua Ford and Smith each had one catch good for 20 and 10 yards respectively.

Defensively, it was the team's second shutout of the season. Cortez Wright led in tackles with 10 including seven solo tackles and three assisted. Jamar Baines and Isaiah Williams had eight tackles each. Eric Barbee, Diego Badillo and Tah'je Ward each had seven. Tony Morillo caused a fumble and Badillo recovered that fumble.

The Centaurs will play Santa Monica High this Friday night in a matchup of two of the three teams tied for second in the Ocean League with a 2-1 record. Lawndale is in first place at 3-0 with two weeks remaining on the league schedule. El Segundo and Hawthorne are tied for fourth at 1-2 while Beverly Hills is in the cellar at 0-3.

"Santa Monica is going be riding a two-game winning streak and feeling good about themselves. This is pretty much for second place so this is an important game and they'll be ready to play," said Wright.

"They're playing their best football of the season and have a couple of talented players that can really give us some problems. We have to be ready to play and play hard. It's a playoff-caliber game. We have to have a great week of practice, execute the game plan and come out to treat this as a must-win situation."

Adding to the Homecoming festivities was a pregame ceremony courtesy of the Los Angeles Chargers. Two Charger Girls presented Coach Wright an award for being the high school Coach of the Week in Los Angeles County. They also presented the Culver High football program with a check for $1,000 in his honor.

Wright: "I was honored for Coach of the Week for the week we played El Segundo. That's exciting and we really appreciate the Chargers coming to Los Angeles, recognizing us and donating to our football program. It's definitely an honor for the school and the football team. We are humbled by that acknowledgement."


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