Centaurs Beat Santa Barbara 55-7

Face Millikan Friday in Long Beach

All three phases were front and center for the Centaurs as they dominated visiting Santa Barbara High, 55-7, in Round 1 of the 2018 CIF Football Division 7 Playoffs. An aggressive Culver City High defense set the tone early. The special teams scored and constantly pressured the Dons kicking and return units while a high-octane offense revved up in the second quarter before accelerating into the Friday night lights.

The win means the Centaurs (9-2) will travel to Millikan High (8-2) in Long Beach to take on the Rams for Round 2 this Friday, November 9, at 7:30 p.m. Millikan whipped Pacifica High of Garden Grove, 53-6, in their opening playoff match. The Rams finished in second place in the Moore League behind league champ Long Beach Poly High.

"We were moving fast. In the beginning a couple of penalties slowed us up but once we got it going... we got it going. We put on all gas and no brakes and executed the game plan that the coaches set up for us," said Centaur quarterback Zevi Eckhaus, who tied Darius Banks' single-game school record when he threw seven touchdowns against Beverly Hills in 2006.

"We have great defensive teams and special teams that gave us a lot of opportunities. If we keep that up throughout the playoffs we're a threat."

The Culver defense was relentless in attacking quarterback Frank Gamberdella and the Santa Barbara offense. The Centaur defensive front sacked him seven times. Defensive end Antonio Morillo led with two sacks complimented by linebackers Arami Bryant and Ethan Day, defensive tackles Richard Farias and Eric Barbee and defensive end Amir Hodge with one sack each.

The Centaurs also had 10 tackles for loss, three pass deflections, two interceptions and one fumble recovery by defensive back Dominic Tatum. He along with linebackers Cortez Wright and Keaton Asma each had a pass deflection. Khary Crump had a 19-yard interception return and Rudy Chavez also had a steal. Crump caused two fumbles.

After a sluggish Centaur start Eckhaus connected with wide receiver Jamal Glaspie for a 16-yard touchdown pass up the middle at 1:57 of the first quarter. Glaspie performed a double-take with a 14-yard touchdown reception up the middle again for his second at 7:28 of the second quarter.

Eckhaus: "We watched a lot of film on Santa Barbara. They like to blitz a lot, so we had a game plan set up for it. At first things were going a little slow but once we were able to adjust to it we played our brand of football, which is good."

Leading 14-0 and driving, running back Joshua Ford got into the act with a 32-yard punishing run, breaking multiple tackles and dragging several defensive backs the last 15 yards towards the Dons' goal line. Eckhaus hit wide receiver Kevin McGuire on for 5-yard touchdown with one minute to go in the half.

The game started crashing down for Santa Barbara on the ensuing kickoff when Crump forced a fumble and Tatum recovered the ball at the Dons' 21-yard line. Glaspie scored the trifecta with his third touchdown catch, a 10-yard pass to give the Centaurs a 28-0 lead with 28 seconds to go in the first half.

The second half began with a 63-yard drive ending with wide receiver Chris Miller catching an 8-yard touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone. Less than three minutes later Tyler Luckett made a circus-grabbing catch flying out of the back of the end zone for 14-yard touchdown.

"Our front line has been nothing but great. They've been able to hold me up a lot this year. Very few sacks, I can't even recall the last time I had a sack. They've been very good," said Eckhaus.

"We have great receivers all over the field, even our substitutes are threats, too. Every man I can go to I can trust in one-on-one situations... even in double coverage. I love having them on my side."

Minutes later Allen Smith caught a punt at the Centaur 45-yard line, swept towards the right sideline behind a well-formed wall and blazed 55 yards into the end zone. The extra-point attempt failed but the 48-0 lead midway through the third quarter was convincing.

Santa Barbara averted the shutout with a one-yard touchdown run following a 68-yard pass reception with minutes remaining in the third quarter. Culver City wrapped up the scoring with a 14-yard touchdown pass to McGuire on the first play of the fourth quarter. With the clock running continuously it was a quick 12 minutes to victory.

Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright and his staff were able to use at least 23 players on defense against Santa Barbara. The tackling totals read like a picket fence: Arami Bryant and Jordan Tayler led the team with eight tackles each. Farias had seven. Morrilo had six. Crump, Asma, Wright, Jarmon and Barbee had four each.

Andrew Brown, Isaiah Williams, Barry Blocker, Adrian Simon had three tackles each. Farias had three tackles for loss and Morillo had grabbed two. Bryant, Joe Simpson, Ethan Day, Barbee and Amir Hodge had one tackle for loss each.

Eckhaus completed 29/38 passes for 366 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed four times for 12 yards. Ford led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 91 yards. Justin Jarmon had three carries for 16 yards. The Centaur offense totaled 483 yards: 113 rushing and 370 yards passing.

Lopez converted seven point-after-touchdown attempts.

The receivers defined the word 'spread.' Glaspie caught seven passes for 90 yards and three touchdowns. McGuire caught six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns. Luckett caught five passes for 59 yards and one touchdown. Miller caught four passes for 66 yards and one touchdown. Tanner Duve caught three passes for 42 yards. Ford also caught three passes for 45 yards. Kannon Davis caught one pass for four yards.

"We're a very confident team but when it's time to play we never underestimate an opponent. We watch film, take a look at our mistakes, and correct them. We've improved in practice, been working hard and it's shown on the field," stated Eckhaus.

"We're bringing out the whole playbook. It's playoffs and time to continue to what we've been doing all year. Regardless of the opponent we just have to play our brand of football."


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