Culver City Observer -

By Greg goodyear and Larry Weiner
Special to the Observer 

Culver Defense Looks Strong for New Season

Vets, Newcomers to Help 'Stop the Run'

 

August 23, 2018



The Centaur defense performed well last season and even had three consecutive shutouts in league competition. But it got pushed around in the semi-final playoff game, when they were shredded for over 300 yards rushing by Covina, and lost 57-56 in overtime.

Over the years, the Achilles heel of the defense has been stopping the run, but the coaching staff is very confident that the longstanding problem won't be an issue this year.

“Our defense is filled with size, speed athleticism and experience," said Culver High Head Coach Jamal Wright. "This combination has us excited for the 2018 version of the Centaurs.”

“We have the most confidence in our D-line because of our depth and experience,” Wright said.

The Cents are returning three defensive starters this year: Senior Antonio Morillo, quick but diminutive Tahje Ward, and improving Eric Barbee.

Morillo performed well at an HBC camp at Linwood High School in April and showed quickness and toughness. He should become a good college player.

Senior Zach Castanaza should plug holes in the middle and senior Amir Hodge will use his tremendous quickness on defense to disrupt the offensive linemen.

Also seeing action on the defensive line will be seniors Jason Hammock, Edwin Ramirez and sophomore Adrian Simon.

Culver City possesses a strong blend of returning starters at linebacker, as well as some outstanding newcomers. "Because of our 3-4 [defensive] scheme, our linebackers always have a ‘heavy’ workload," Wright said. "This year, I feel our group is up for the challenge.

“Cortez Wright is the leader of our team, both on and off the field," Wright added. "We are going to rely on him to lead with his play and use his experience and knowledge to keep everyone in line!”

There are a few newcomers who are extremely exciting based on their intelligence and hitting ability.

Junior Keaton Asma has a great work ethic and a high football IQ. He should become a great leader as part of the linebacking crew.

Arami Bryant, another junior, is a fierce hitter and relentless ballhawk.

Another recent newcomer is transfer Malachi McMahon, who has shown tremendous desire and athleticism.

Senior Keshawn McPherson played well last season and should be a force, along with juniors Isaiah Williams and Ethan Day. Also seeing action will be seniors Jordan Taylor and Rudy Chavez.

Culver City has had numerous defensive backs over the past 20 years who have gone on to play at Division-1 colleges and universities. "Over the years, we have been blessed with talented DBs and this year is no different,” Wright said.

In fact, three defensive backs have already garnered Division-1 offers.

Experienced junior cornerback Khary Crump already has Pac-12 offers to Oregon and Arizona. He is a fierce defender who loves manhandling receivers at the line of scrimmage.

His counterpart at corner, senior transfer Allen Smith, is a beast similar to Crump and already has offers to Wyoming and UC Davis.

Senior safety and cornerback Dominick Tatum garnered the most D-1 offers with 10 and recently committed to Nevada. He is tough and very athletic.

Senior Jamal Glaspie will be a “bookend” safety to Tatum.

Senior corner Andrew Brown probably would have gotten his share of Division-1 offers, but was injured at the beginning of track season and just finished his rehabilitation. He has outstanding potential.

Tyler Luckett, another senior cornerback, is extremely fast and athletic and is yet another D-1 prospect. Senior corner Joe Simpson has improved dramatically and will see extended minutes this coming season.

Also seeing playing time will be senior Barry Blocker and juniors Joe Call and Enson Bravo.

There will be some new faces on the special teams this coming year. Handling place-kicking duties will be junior Matt Lopez. Vying for the punting spot will be Cortez Wright and Jamal Glaspie. The place holder will be Glaspie.

 

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