Author photo

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

Centaurs Pummel Peninsula

Balanced attack leads Culver to 61-27 victory


September 6, 2018

George Laase

Centaur defensive star Tony Morillo (52) crushes another runner.

The 2018 Centaur scoring machine continued to rev up as it over-powered another South Bay opponent, this time Peninsula High, 61-27, on Friday, Aug. 31.

The packed bleachers at Jerry Chabola Stadium celebrated nine more touchdowns, matching last week's total. Culver City High defeated West Torrance High the previous Friday, 62-20, to ignite the season.

The Centaurs (2-0) used a balanced attack to punish the visiting Panthers (1-2).

Despite giving up the initial touchdown, Culver surged to a 27-10 first quarter lead. The game was virtually over by halftime as City held a commanding 41-17 edge. The only drawback: Dozens of penalty flags that flew throughout, dragging the game into the three-hour mark.

Peninsula capitalized on starting Centaur quarterback Zevi Eckhaus' interception one minute into the game. Two plays later the Panthers ran 15 yards for a 7-0 lead.

It took just two plays and 29 seconds for Culver City to respond as slot receiver Allen Smith took a reverse handoff and burned the left sideline for a 73-yard touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Barry Blocker recovered a misplayed ball, giving Culver a first down at the Panther 13-yard line. Joshua Ford soon rambled straight into the end zone for a 14-7 Culver lead.

A Centaur lightning bolt struck again 47 seconds later, when outside linebacker Malachi McMahon recovered a Peninsula fumble and sprinted untouched for a 25-yard TD.

Peninsula cut the lead in half, 20-10, with a 33-yard field goal at 4:21. Eckhaus then drove Culver downfield before hitting wide receiver Kevin McGuire with a 38-yard toss into the end zone.

The Centaurs hiked their lead to 34-10 three minutes into the second quarter when Eckhaus connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Dominic Tatum in the right corner of the end zone.

Peninsula began chipping-away at Culver's lead. But with an apparent sense of urgency, Eckhaus again drove the Centaurs down the field and eventually threw a 25-yard touchdown pass inside the right corner of the end zone to Chris Miller.

McMahon put the game out of reach 11 seconds into the fourth quarter, taking a pitchout and carving 25 yards down the left sideline before barreling a couple of Panther defenders into the end zone.

Peninsula cut the lead to 55-27 on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 6:23 on the clock.

On the very next play, though, Culver's Allen Smith ended the scoring and fireworks with a scintillating 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Defensively, Culver kept the Panther offense off-balance and contained. The Centaurs notched five quarterback sacks, five tackles for loss, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Keaton Asma led the team with eight tackles, including six solos.

McMahon had three quarterback sacks while Isaiah Williams and Antonio Morillo had one each. Luckett, Tatum, Arami Bryant and Andrew Brown each had an interception. McMahon also had two fumble recoveries while Morillo forced a fumble.

Offensively, McMahon led the team in scoring with three touchdowns. Allen Smith had two touchdowns while Ford, McGuire, Tatum and Miller had one touchdown each.

Matthew Lopez kicked six extra points out of seven attempts. Richard Farias added an extra point kick in his only attempt.

Eckhaus completed 14 of 21 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He has thrown for eight total touchdown passes in two games while completing 35 of 53 for 640 yards.

Nick Lucero came in for Eckhaus for the second consecutive game and completed two of three passes for eight yards.

The Centaurs rushed for a total of 197 yards on 11 carries. Nine Culver receivers combined for 16 receptions and 233 yards.


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