Author photo

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Culver Wins Again But Star Quarterback Is Injured

Centaurs Trounce Santa Monica 42-0


November 2, 2017

Fred Altieri

Quarterback Jonathan Martin (7) throws his fourth touchdown pass in rout of Santa Monica

The Centaurs of Culver City High blitzed archrival Santa Monica High, 42-0, for their second consecutive Ocean League football shutout on Friday, October 27, at Corsair Field, Santa Monica College. But misfortune struck late in the first quarter when All-League Centaur quarterback Jonathan Martin left the game with an injury.

"Jonathan ran into the end zone and one of their defensive players rolled up on his knee. So he's definitely out this week against Beverly and we'll see how he's recovering moving forward," said Culver head coach Jahmal Wright.

"He threw four touchdown passes in the first seven minutes of the game. With his rushing touchdown he had five touchdowns in the first nine minutes of the game. He already had 200 yards passing and completed all eight pass attempts. So he was on pace to have a career night."

The Centaurs exploded on the game's opening drive. Martin threw a short screen pass left to wide receiver Alex Smith who cut toward the center of the field, split the secondary before racing untouched along the left hash marks and into the endzone for an 82-yard touchdown. It was the longest scoring pass of the season for Culver City.

Two plays later Centaur linebacker Augustus Fraser recovered a Santa Monica fumble at the Viking 24-yard line. Three plays later running back Brandon Oum waltzed into the left side of the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Martin and a 14-0 lead at 7:56 of the first quarter.

"The 82-yard touchdown pass to Alex Smith set the tone. He's one of our more explosive playmakers. He was able to make a couple of moves and take advantage of their blitz," said Wright. "Brandon's touchdown was a pass we've worked on all year. We faked a run, ran a play-action pass up the sideline and he was able to convert."

Enter Centaur wide receiver Jamal Glaspie. Following a Viking punt, Martin threw a short screen right to Glaspie who cut back left, darted up the middle and then torched the defense for a 75-yard touchdown at 5:25. The Vikings and their 2017 Homecoming crowd were clearly shell-shocked by Culver's defense, speed and offensive arsenal.

On the Vikings first play of the next drive Culver lineman Diego Campos recovered another fumble at the Santa Monica 17-yard line. Enter Centaur wide receiver Kevin McGuire for the play of the game. On first down Martin passed to McGuire who was quickly pinned by the Viking defensive back at the 10-yard line and left sideline.

In one fluid motion McGuire threw his defender to the ground with one hand, cut back right, froze another Viking with a left shake before smoothly stepping into the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. Wright: "He pretty much did all the work. It was quite impressive. He's one of our stronger guys inside the weight room and was able to show his explosiveness and strength on that play."

Soon Culver linebacker Isaiah Williams came up with a Viking fumble at the Santa Monica 34-yard line. A few plays later Martin sprained his knee on a designed rollout as he dived just inside the left goal line marker. It was bittersweet for the Centaurs as Martin left the field at 3:06 after having directed a 35-0 first quarter masterpiece.

The Centaur defense increased the pressure with Martin out of the game. The offense under McGuire and Oum at quarterback moved with limited success as the Santa Monica defense stacked the line to counter the ground attack. Both teams failed to score for the rest of the first half.

"Coach Tom Crump is doing a great job as defensive coordinator getting the defense ready to play week in and week out," offered Wright. "They're playing their best football to date. I have no doubt in our mind that our defense is capable of carrying our team. I'm very proud of how they played."

The second half saw both teams exchange multiple scoreless drives. Midway through the third quarter the Vikings mounted their biggest scoring threat from the Culver 35-yard line. Enter Centaur middle linebacker Jordan Armstrong to help preserve the shutout by intercepting a first down pass and returning it to Viking territory.

Wright: "It was a zone blitz where Jordan was able to read the quarterback's eyes. He did a great job of getting one hand on the ball. It was a very athletic play and he showed good hand/eye coordination. He got one hand on the ball, tipped it to himself, picked it off and ran another 20 yards."

Punt kicker Robert Simon also shined under pressure deep in Culver territory. On a bad snap over his head Simon scrambled 20 yards to grab the ball, sprinted back against the grain and punted with his left foot (he's a right-footed kicker) towards midfield. Wright: "He showed some versatility, athleticism and was able to improvise on the spot to make sure our defense wasn't in a bad situation. That was a pretty cool play."

Culver (8-1 overall, 3-1 in league) scored its final touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter. On the fourth play of the drive that started at the Viking 42-yard line McGuire handed off to running back Joshua Ford who sliced-and-diced nine yards up the middle while carrying several defenders over the goal line.

Offensively, Culver had 38 total offensive plays: 12 passes and 26 rushes. Martin was 8/8 passing for 202 yards and four touchdowns thrown and one rushing. McGuire was the leading rusher with nine carries for 55 yards. Ford had eight carries for 36 yards and one touchdown.

McGuire had three receptions for 26 yards and one touchdown. Smith had two catches for 81 yards and one touchdown. Glaspie had two for 77 yards and one touchdown. Oum caught two for 21 yards and one touchdown. Culver had 209 yards passing and 140 yards rushing for 349 total yards.

The defense registered six turnovers. Smith, Fraser, Armstrong had an interception each. Fraser, Campos and Williams each recovered a fumble. The Centaurs leading tackler was Armstrong with six solo tackles, seven assisted tackles, one tackle for loss. Tah'je Ward had 12 total tackles, six solos and six assists, one tackle for loss and he caused two fumbles.

Fred Altieri

Kevin McGuire (2) finishes off 22-yard touchdown reception

"Jordan played his best game of the season, which was very satisfying and rewarding to see. We have a lot of great senior leaders so it's good to see that leadership come in handy. Tah'je Ward was also a candidate for defensive player of the game," added Wright.

"Kevin McGuire played some quarterback and Brandon played some wildcat quarterback. Santa Monica loaded the box on us and had all their men committed to the line of scrimmage. I thought we were able to still run the ball, play good defense and get out of there with the victory."

"We're just trying to take care of Beverly and end up league at 4-1. It's important for us to be sharp and play good football. Now we have to get our attention focused on our freshman quarterback, Zevi Echaus."

"He's our backup quarterback and he has to be ready to go. We're going to support him, surround him with a bunch of weapons and play good defense because he might end up being the starting quarterback the first round of the playoffs."


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