Culver High Football Team Crushes Hawthorne 62-14

Culver City High football continued to roll through the 2018 Ocean League schedule as they dominated Hawthorne High, 62-14, to improve their season record to 7-2. With one game remaining on the Ocean League schedule, the Centaurs are preparing for a deep run in the CIF Playoffs beginning next weekend.

"The team is clicking on all cylinders right now and playing with a lot of confidence," said Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright as the team secured second place in the league behind first place Lawndale. Culver High fourth-quarter rally fell short in a loss to the Cardinals, 34-27, two weeks ago.

"We still have a bad taste in our mouth with that loss to Lawndale. We just want to redeem ourselves by trying to win a CIF Championship. So the boys are working hard at practice and hopefully we can keep taking them one game at a time."

The outcome was inevitable by the end of the first quarter as the Centaurs raced to a 33-0 lead. Minutes into the second quarter the game was put on a running clock until the remainder of the game when a safety made it 35-0. Despite the sped-up clock, Coach Wright and his staff were still able to substitute the starters and get the reserve units valuable playing time.

Yet it was the defense that set the table constantly for the Culver offense, giving them excellent field position throughout the evening at Hawthorne's Halcap Field. The Centaurs forced and recovered three fumbles, racked up two sacks, had five tackles for loss, three pass deflections and one interception for good measure.

"I'm proud of how our defense is playing. They are playing lights out. They're playing as a unit and everyone is doing their job. They're playing hard and tackling well. And that's what we're going to need moving forward," said Wright.

"Collectively, especially in the run game, everybody is doing a good job of being disciplined and controlling their gaps. Everybody has their individual assignments and not trying to do too much. They're just doing their job and it's paid off for us."

The Centaurs wasted little time. Culver City quarterback Zevi Eckhaus threw a short pass to wide receiver Kevin McGuire who scorched the right sideline for a 60-yard touchdown. Minutes later Eckhaus hit wide receiver Tyler Luckett with a 4-yard touchdown pass. At 5:29 of the first quarter Joshua Ford ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Matthew Lopez converted the second of his six successful extra-point kicks for a 20-0 lead.

On their next possession the Cougars failed to convert a fourth down fake punt deep in their own territory. The gamble proved costly as wide receiver Chris Miller made a diving grab in the left corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown reception on the very next play. Minutes later Eckhaus connected with McGuire on an 11-yard toss in the same corner for the 33-0 lead.

Hawthorne added to their misery with a safety to start off the second quarter. That set the stage for Ford who rushed by the Cougar defensive line, cut left against the grain and erased the secondary for a 40-yard touchdown statement run. Soon a 45-yard fumble return for touchdown down the right sideline by strong safety Joe Simpson wrapped up the first half scoring, 49-0, with the game clock running full bore.

Nick Lucero also played well relieving Eckhaus at quarterback in the second half. He threw a 28-yard touchdown padss to wide receiver Kannon Davis in the third quarter. The Cougars finally scored on an 11-yard run late in the third. They added a 15-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to trail 56-14.

Culver sophomore Emari Pait created the last fireworks of the evening on the final kickoff and play of the game with a thrilling 90-yard evasive dash into the Cougar end zone as time expired. Pait also had a 51-yard kickoff return for a 70.5 yard average per return.

Ethan Day led the Centaur defense in tackles with six, including three solo tackles. Allen Smith, Keaton Asma and Isaiah Williams had five tackles each. Khary Crump, Cortez Wright, Andrew Brown and Jordan Taylor had four tackles each.

Tah'je Ward, Antonio Morillo, Richard Farias, Asma and Wright had tackles for loss. Wright and Ward each had a quarterback sack. Crump had one interception while Simpson, Isaiah Williams and Ward each recovered a fumble. Smith, Asma and Morillo each caused a fumble.

Offensively, Eckhaus converted 9/11 passes for 186 yards and four touchdowns. Lucero converted 4/7 passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Ford rushed for 80 yards on six carries and two touchdowns. Ayinde Bankole wrapped up the ground attack with five carries for 10 yards.

Remarkably, the Centaurs only had 13 pass receptions but to nine different receivers. No receiver had more than two catches. McGuire had two for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Ford had two for 35 yards. Luckett had two for 15 yards and on touchdown. Dylan Clark caught two for 16 yards.

Miller and Davis each caught one pass for a touchdown. Allen Smith had one reception for 14 yards setting up a touchdown. Tanner Duve had one catch for 26 yards. Pait had one catch for 35 yards. Efficiently, the Centaurs scored 62 points on only 30 plays from scrimmage.

There's always room for improvement. We're always looking for that perfect game," concluded Wright. "We haven't played that yet but that's okay. We're going to keep working and fix what we're not doing well. We just want to keep the momentum going. We're playing our best football, healthy, ready to play and we're excited."

The End


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