Culver City Clashes with Peninsula

The Culver City High School Centaurs will host an improving football squad from Palos Verdes Peninsula on Friday, Aug. 31.

The Peninsula Panthers opened the 2018 season in fine fashion when they derailed Oak Park, 42-21. Quarterback Ethan Gretzinger completed eight of 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball 12 times for 85 yards and a TD.

Obviously, the Centaurs need to keep an eye on Gretzinger and also the Panthers’ strong running back, Mason O’Conner.

Gretzinger is an athlete who can both run and throw well, which can give any defense fits.

Peninsula has always liked to run the football and this year seems no different.

Culver’s coaching staff expects the Panthers to relentlessly run the ball in an attempt to beat the defensive line into submission and control the clock. But the Culver City D-line is bigger and deeper than it has been in a few years.

The speed of the Centaur defense is top notch, so this may well thwart Panther plans.

In their first away game last week, Peninsula played a stronger El Segundo Eagles team.

The Eagles expect to challenge for a league championship. But last week they had to endure an opening drive that took eight minutes off the clock as Peninsula finally scored and went up 7-0.

The Eagles righted the ship and were under control the rest of the way, winning 31-21.

Peninsula’s running back work-horse in game one was Mason O’Connor. He carried the ball 13 times for 108 yards and scored one touchdown.

Culver City coaches commented on the rather large line of Peninsula. In fact, according to the Max Preps roster, they have one lineman who is 6’2,” 290 pounds and another who is 6’4,” 240 pounds.

However, the Panthers don’t have a lot of players. That could get them into trouble if they continue to grind it out with the young men playing on both offense and defense.

Culver City arguably has the most depth it’s had since the 2011 team and can shuttle in several athletes without losing a beat. That should help the Cents late in the game, especially if the weather is unusually warm.

And given that the Panthers are a running team and their players play on both sides of the ball, it is really going to be difficult for them to play man-to-man defense without getting tired.

On paper it looks like Culver should expect its second victory of the season Friday, but you never know. That is why they play the game.

C ulver City opened its season Aug. 24 against West Torrance High. After a slow start, the Cents hit the gas pedal and cruised to a 62-20 victory.

The big star of the game on both defense and special teams was Serra High transfer senior Allen Smith. Although one of the smallest players on the field at five-foot-eight, the cornerback had six jarring tackles and two interceptions, one of which he ran back for a 34-yard touchdown.

Junior middle linebacker Keaton Asma, who looks like a Division1 linebacker, was all over the field with 10 tackles and showed quickness and tenacity. Also, Nevada commit Dominic Tatum did an outstanding job at safety, and defensive tackle Antonio Morillo showed quickness and played well.

The star on the offensive line was All-CIF standout Amir Hodge. Junior newcomers David Naranjo and Blake Kneebone also played well, while junior Richard Farias did well on both sides of the ball.


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