Culver City Observer -

By Greg Goodyear
Special to the Observer 

Culver High Football Training Camp Opens

 

August 8, 2019

George Laase

Culver City high school's defense will need to have a good season if they expect to have another outstanding year. Last year they won the CIF Division 7 championship.

Culver City High School football team opened fall camp this Wednesday. They are concentrating on conditioning and basics in their offense and defense. Head coach and Culver City Jahmal Wright want the team is still accepting student walk-ons. If anybody is interested, they should come by the school field house or contact the athletic office to get more information.

The Centaurs will put on pads on Saturday. The Centaurs will have their traditional Blue/White game. The junior varsity will scrimmage against the freshman followed by the varsity practicing against themselves. These will be a more controlled scrimmage and slightly shorter in length.

Last year Culver City won the CIF Championship, which was the school's first title since 1978. With the talent they have returning, they feel that they have a solid chance of doing it again.

A few major important changes have recently happened that needs to be understood. The teams that comprise the South Bay Association voted to drop freshman football and combine it into a frosh/soph program. There would also be a varsity team. Culver City was one of only a few schools that voted against this proposal because it still can field three solid teams.

Athletic director Tom Salter has worked hard to try to have the Centaurs play three games each week. However, in the league schedule, a few teams like Hawthorne, Beverly Hills, and possibly Lawndale will only have frosh/soph teams. El Segundo and Santa Monica may also be able to field three teams but that hasn't been determined yet.

Although the freshman numbers have been down somewhat the last few years, Culver City High coaches and administration understands how important it is to have three competitive programs to keep the varsity team strong. Many teams along the coast are having this problem but most of the inland schools can still field three teams.

The member schools of the South Bay Association re-aligned, and next year Culver City will be in the tougher Bay League. That means that there will fewer easy games during league play but Culver City can certainly compete against anybody and could be the favorite to win the league in two years.

The CIF recently determined that the Centaurs will move from Division 7 to Division 5. Culver should still be considered one of the favorites in this division.

The Centaurs will have a very competitive preseason and will be favored to win the league championship along with Lawndale High. No team in Ocean league history has ever won four league championships in a row except Culver City, who's done it twice. One of the Centaurs' goals this year is to stop Lawndale from winning their fourth consecutive title.

Culver City will be loaded with D1 talent as six wide receivers expected to land scholarship offers. The Centaurs should have one of the best wide receiving crews not only in Southern California but in the nation.

This is one of the reasons why Culver won three passing tournaments and only lost one game when all of their receivers were present. The D1 receivers include seniors Chris Miller, Tanner Duve, and Khary Crump. The juniors will be Makai Cope, Emari Pait, and newcomer Legend Waring.

Culver City will return one of the best quarterbacks in Southern California in junior Zevi Eckhaus, who was All-Ocean League, All-CIF, and All-State. He passed for nearly 3,500 yards last year, completed 60 percent of his passes and had only nine interceptions. The 50 touchdowns he tossed ranks with the best in the state.

Eckhaus has a chance to break Mater Dei's J.T. Daniels record of 155 career touchdowns. If Eckhaus stays healthy, he has a decent chance to do it. Daniels is currently the starting quarterback at USC.

Culver City will also start one of the fastest running back's in Southern California in Mekhi Evans–Bey who won the Division II 400-meter title and was third in the 200 this past spring. The offensive line has good height and is led by two Division I prospects in returning seniors David Naranjo, 6' 3" at left tackle and Blake Kneebone, 6' 4" at left guard.

The newcomers will be senior center Isaac Padilla, 250 lbs., and two other Division 1 prospects: Junior Dylan Nichols will lead the way.

The Centaurs will start a freshman at right guard with Mason Mannyweather manning the position. The defensive line should be strong and will be manned by returning senior Richard Farias, junior Adrian Simon, with offensive lineman also rotated in.

Unfortunately, Culver City recently lost two of their starting senior linebackers. Keaton Asma cannot play because of a medical issue and Arami Bryant left the school. Culver City, however, returns strong middle linebackers in Isaiah Williams and transfer Max Crosner, who started at a very strong Phoenix-area high school football program. He looks to be a solid hitter and playmaker.

The defensive backfield will feature top-notch athletes who are also playing receiver. The Centaurs will be strong on special teams and the kicking duties will be again manned by senior Matt Lopez, who may also do the punting this year.

Last year, Culver City was upset in the California State Regional Finals by Lincoln High of San Diego. This year, the Centaurs feel that if they stay healthy, they could win another CIF Championship and a State Championship!

 

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