Culver City Wins Passing Tournament for Second Year

By Greg Goodyear and Jerry Weiner

Special to the Observer

For the first time in recent memory, Culver City won the El Rancho passing tournament for the second year in a row and also won back-to-back tournaments on consecutive weekends. The Centaurs faced a slightly better level of competition this past weekend than they faced in the Western Tournament the weekend before.

In addition, two of Culver’s better players were unable to attend last weekend’s tournament as Dominick Tatum was on an official trip to the University of Nevada and Khary Crump was at a University of Arizona satellite camp, hosted by the University of Redlands.

In the morning, Culver participated in pool play and met 3 rivals. The first game was against West Covina, and they easily beat them 34-8. Coach Wright again played all 3 quarterbacks in pool play to give them experience. He started with Zevi Eckhaus and then brought in senior Tee Barnes and then junior Nick Lucero. In game 1, Eckhaus threw for 3 touchdowns while being intercepted once, and Barnes and Lucero threw for 1 TD each. Jamal Glaspie caught 2 TDs, while Tyler Luckett, Chris Miller, and Allen Smith had 1 each. Jordan Taylor had an interception. West Covina did not have a first down until their 5th possession and did not score until their last possession against the reserves. The defense was stellar to say the least.

In game 2, Culver City played South El Monte, which is very well coached and proved to be a scrappy bunch to beat. In this game, Eckhaus threw for 2 touchdowns, 1 to Luckett and 1 to Miller, and Tee Barnes threw a TD pass to Luckett also. Unfortunately, Lucero did not connect on a TD and threw for 1 interception. Although it was a close game, the Centaurs never trailed in a 18-14 nail biter. After the game, Coach Wright challenged the team to step it up and play “Culver City football” to the best of their ability.

In game 3, the Centaurs played the most athletic team in their pool, Monrovia. They played much better and it was a close contest throughout. Eckhaus threw for 4 TDs, 2 to Jamal Glaspie, and 1 each to Tanner Duve and Joshua Ford. That pass was the clinching touchdown as Culver expanded an 18-16 lead making the final score 24-16. The game was close because Monrovia picked off 2 of Eckhaus’ passes.

During lunch, Culver City found out that there were the number 4 seed, which meant that they might have to face the number 1 seeded Arroyo Knights in the semi-finals.

In the first round of the tournament, Culver faced off against the Baldwin Park Braves and blew them out 36-6 in a game that was a total domination. The defense stopped the Braves 4 times in a row and they did not allow a first down or a touchdown until their second to last possession. QB Eckhaus threw for 2 touchdowns, and Barnes and Lucero also threw for 2. Josh Ford was top gun with 3 TD receptions, while Duve had 2 and Glaspie 1.

In the quarterfinals, Culver City moved on to face Ayala. On the first play of Culver City’s first possession, Eckhaus threw a pick giving Ayala an early 2-0 lead, but Eckhaus quickly righted the ship throwing for 4 touchdowns on the next 4 possessions. These touchdowns went to Ford, Miller, Luckett and Duve. Culver City beat Alaya 26-8.

Next, Culver City prepared to play the number 1 seed, the Arroyo Knights. Although the Knights are not a physically imposing team, they are the class program in the Mission Valley League (San Gabriel Valley) and have been dominant year after year. The Knights tied the game late on an interception of an Eckhaus pass making the score 22 all. After neither team got a first down, and each gave up the ball, Eckhaus moved the Centaurs into scoring position and threw a TD to Miller to take a 28-22 lead. With a chance to tie the game again, the Knights threw a pass down the middle and Justin Jarmon made a nice interception to preserve the win 30-22. Eckhaus threw for 4 touchdowns; Miller caught 2 with Luckett and Glaspie catching 1 each. The Centaurs’ defense came up big with 3 interceptions, Barry Blocker, Luckett and Jarmon had one each. Eckhaus again threw 2 picks.

In the finals, Culver City faced San Dimas high school. It was a tough hard fought game. San Dimas opened with a quick score and Culver City came right back with a touchdown from Eckhaus to Glaspie. San Dimas struck again to take a 12-6 lead and Culver answered with another Eckhaus to Glaspie touchdown to tie the score again 12-12. Justin Jarmon then came up with another outstanding interception to put the Centaurs ahead 14-12. With a chance to put the game out of reach, the Centaurs could not score. San Dimas got the ball back, marched down the field and took a 18-14 lead. Then disaster struck when Eckhaus threw another pick. The sophomore redeemed himself by driving the Centaurs to 2 late scores while the defense held. The 2 touchdowns were scored by Miller and Duve. The final score was (26-20)

After the teams shook hands, the Centaurs received their second championship trophy in 2 years in this tournament, and Coach Wright commented, “I’m very proud of how our team is progressing so far. We are gelling, competing, and improving each week.”

The Centaurs will take off this weekend and prepare for the biggest tournament of the summer. They will travel eastward for the Bonita passing tournament at Bonita high school. It will begin on Friday, June 29, with pool play and the tournament will be played on Saturday, June 30.


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