Centaurs Beat Dorsey 60-14

Close Out Pre-Season 5-0

It was business as usual for Culver City High football as they wrapped up their 2019 pre-league season at 5-0 with a methodical 60-14 win at Dorsey High on Friday night. The Centaurs will begin Ocean League action on the road at 7:00 p.m. this Friday night, October 4, against Santa Monica High. The game will be played at Santa Monica College.

"We knew that Dorsey was under-matched a little bit so we came in with the mindset of just wanting to sharpen our tools and move forward to get better for tougher battles ahead. Our guys were laser-focused and executed well," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright.

The Centaurs offense led by quarterback Zevi Eckhaus scored nine touchdowns against Dorsey. Culver wide receivers caught six touchdown passes to keep up with their season average. They have now combined with their junior quarterback for 30 total receiving touchdowns through five games.

However, their running game is starting to materialize with three rushing touchdowns. Senior running back Mekai Evans-Bey rushed for 127 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. Senior back Nolan Halloran rushed for 22 yards on four carries and a touchdown. Junior back Ayinde Bankole rushed for 28 yards on four carries and also caught two passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

"Our passing offense has been clicking all season but we're trying to make a concerted effort to be more balanced because we're more effective offensively when we can run and pass the ball," said Wright.

"We thought Mekai did a great job making some explosive plays and the offensive line did a good job sustaining their blocks. When he has a little crease he's explosive. The offensive line did a good job of creating daylight and Mekai found the daylight."

Evans-Bey showed his CIF 400-meter Champion speed with a 59-yard scorching run up the middle with two sharp cutbacks and into the end zone to give the Centaurs a 48-8 halftime lead. It came on the heels of Dorsey's first score, an 83-yard kickoff return with 2:13 to go in the first half. Evans-Bey also ran for a one-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

The Centaurs defense again had a solid game, yielding only one touchdown in the final seconds of the game. They forced three turnovers by the Dons: two fumbles and one interception by Emari Pait. Remarkably, they held Dorsey to zero yards passing on five attempts. Dorsey also rushed for only 114 yards on 26 carries and one rushing touchdown.

Offensively, Eckhaus completed 20 of 27 passes for 266 yards and six touchdown passes. Miller caught five passes for 68 yards and three touchdowns. Tanner Duve caught four passes for 55 yards. Cope had four receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown. Bankole had two receptions for 52 yards and one touchdown. Evans-Bey had two catches for six yards while Pait had one for a 32-yard touchdown. Dylan Clark had one catch for 10 yards.

Wright: "The defense is doing a great job, working hard as there's a lot of talent on that side of the ball for us as well. When the defense is clicking, creating turnovers and getting stops, it fuels the offense. So we're excited about where we are defensively at right now."

The Centaurs started the game with two passing touchdowns in the first quarter. Eckhaus hit wide receiver Emari Pait with a 32-yard touchdown to give Culver a 7-0 lead three minutes and change into the game. Wide receiver Makai Cope caught a 4-yard touchdown pass for a 14-0 lead after the first quarter. Culver City exploded for five touchdowns in the second quarter to ice the game.

Wide receiver Chris Miller caught three touchdown passes in the quarter to give him 17 total for the year. He is only one touchdown reception away from tying the school record for a single season, set only last year by Kevin McGuire with 18. McGuire, a freshman at the University of Idaho this year, also set the school scoring record with 24 total touchdowns last season.

Miller caught two 19-yard touchdowns and a two-yard score to balance out the two scores by Evans-Bay in the quarter. With a commanding 35-plus point lead, the entire second half was played with a continuous clock, allowing only a couple of possessions by the Centaurs. Notwithstanding, they scored both times and never punted in game.

Nolan Halloran had a two-yard jaunt to increase the scored 55-8 in the third quarter. His touchdown was widely celebrated by the entire Centaur squad. Ayinde Bankole capped off the Culver scoring with a decisive 16-yard catch and run crossfield sprint for a touchdown. The Dons scored their final touchdown in the waning seconds.

"I think we're progressing at the right pace," said Wright. "We still have work to do but we're definitely pleased but not satisfied. So we're still hungry. We still see need for improvement and we're in the lab just trying to perfect our craft.

The team is gearing up for Friday's game against Santa Monica High. The Vikings football program is 3-2 going into the match and is rebounding under head coach Matt Kirk. SAMOHI won-loss record over the past four seasons is 11-29. Their last win over the Culver City was in 2014 when they shutout the Centaurs, 49-0.

"We're approaching the Santa Monica game this week like a playoff game. Our league season is really important and we want to open up on the right foot," stated Wright.

"They know us very well and we know them. Coach Kirk is doing a good job getting that team ready. It's his second year over there and they'll be ready for us. They've had some good wins and hopefully we're ready for the challenge."


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