By Greg goodyear and Larry Weiner
Special to the Observer 

Quarterback Eckhaus Receives All-State Honors


George Laase

Jonathan Martin, Centaur Quarteback 2015-17.

Going into last year Culver City High realized that with the talent they possessed, all they needed was a good, solid performance from their new starting quarterback, Zevi Eckhaus, to have a big shot at winning the 2018 CIF crown.

Eckhaus was replacing only the second three-year starting quarterback at Culver City High since 2002 in Jonathan Martin, the second all time passing yardage leader in school history (over 8,000 yards). The other three-year starter was arguably the best quarterback in Culver City history according to most experts. Darius Banks, who led the Cents in 2005-2007, ended his career with the 5th most passing yards in California state history.

Unfortunately, Jonathan Martin was hurt late in the 2017 season, and the only quarterback left in the program at that time was freshman Eckhaus (of the other two QB's on the bench one was ineligible and the other was injured.) Eckhaus became the first quarterback to start a game as a freshman at Culver City since then coach and now Athletic Director Tom Salter had come to Culver City in 1999.

In fact, he was the only freshman to start at any position in school history. The experience that he gained at the end of the 2017 season gave him and the coaching staff confidence that he could do the job in 2018. However, there were still a number of things he needed to work on in the off-season to make him a solid starting quarterback for the Centaurs.

He had to improve his fundamentals and mechanics, improve his velocity and he needed to continue to sharpen his ability to read defenses. In the off-season his diligence paid off with hard work and lifting weights as he succeeded in bettering himself in all categories.

Many coaches still don't consider the importance passing league tournaments and do not reflect on how the team will perform during the season, because offensive and defensive lineman do not play. But since Culver City changed from a running attack to a quarterback driven offense, they started placing more emphasis on the performance of the quarterback.

The biggest change came about in 2005 when former assistant coach Dameon Porter installed the spread offense to take advantage of their players athleticism and speed. Since Culver City would become one of the first schools in Southern California to use the spread offense, it only made sense to use the summer passing tournament games as an indication of how they would perform in the regular season and what they needed to work on.

In the summer of 2018, Eckhaus lead Culver in the passing tournaments and they did very well winning 2 and making it to the finals in the prestigious Bonita Air Assault. This was the first time that the Centaurs had done so well in the summer and this gave the team reason to believe that the 2018 season would be a good one.

But the team exceeded all expectations in winning their first CIF title in 40 years, and they were invited to the State Regional Final for the first time in school history. This year the Centaurs have already won three passing tournaments under the steady hand and veteran leadership of Eckhaus. The prospects for the 2019 season look very bright indeed.

At the end of the season, Eckhaus was named first team All-Ocean League and also first team All-CIF. Yet the biggest award that Eckhaus earned was being named to the All-State Sophomore team. This is a rare feat in Culver City history as only a few athletes have received All-State honors. And it is a huge honor in California because there are so many talented football players in the state.

Eckhaus had tremendous numbers last year. The one that pops out the most is his 50 touchdowns in one season. Those numbers are surreal for any varsity player let alone a sophomore. Last year he threw for 3,487 yards in 13 games and completed 208 of 349 passes for a 59.6 completion percentage.

George Laase

Darius Banks, Centaur Quarterback 2005-07.

That percentage broke the all time Culver City sophomore completion percentage record formerly held by Banks. In addition, he had only nine interceptions all season. His quarterback rating was very good at 122.

The goal for the Centaurs this year is to win their first Ocean League title in three years and then to go on to win another CIF title. If they can accomplish, this it would be the first time they have ever gone back-to-back in school football history.

Local Centaur fans will get a chance to see Zevi and his talented team of receivers in seven-on-seven action when Culver City High football hosts its first-ever passing tournament at the Jerry Chabola Stadium on Saturday, July 13, beginning at 8:00 a.m.


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