Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

A PERFECT SEASON

Centaurs Crush Beverly Hills to end Season 10-0

 

November 7, 2019

Fred Altieri

Looking towards this Friday's Playoff game -wide receiver Chris Miller - 21 touchdowns this season

Undefeated! For the first time since 2007 Culver City High has a perfect record entering the CIF Southern Section football Playoffs. The Centaurs closed the 2019 regular season with a 55-0 shutout over Beverly Hills High to run their record to 10-0. Earning their first shutout of the season was an appropriate way to honor the team's seniors on Senior Night last Friday night.

The Centaurs will host Bishop Diego High from Santa Barbara this Friday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m. at Jerry Chabola Stadium. The Cardinals finished the regular season with a 5-5 record and placed third in the very competitive Camino League. Bishop Diego won the CIF Division 6 Championship in 2017 and captured the Division 3-AA State title that year as well.

Culver City won the CIF Division 7 Championship last season, beating San Jacinto High, 61-21, before bowing out 54-42 in the Division 3-AA State Semifinal match to Lincoln High of San Diego. Having moved up to Division 5 this season, the Centaurs will be challenged in every game from the opening round. Culver hosts Round 1 due to winning the Ocean League with a 5-0 record.

"Last season the emphasis was not to get complacent, not to think that we already made it. We weren't okay with just making the playoffs. So, our emphasis is staying hungry, always wanting more and that has carried us through this season," said Culver senior wide receiver Chris Miller.

The Centaurs put on a very entertaining show against Beverly despite only playing the first team for the first quarter. The team managed to score 55 points and roll a shutout with a refreshing mix of seniors combined with plenty of junior varsity and freshmen brought up to the varsity level just in time to prepare for the playoffs. There was no letup in the level and execution of plays, offensively and defensively.

The Centaurs jumped to a 7-0 lead against Beverly Hills on the opening kickoff as Quinton Chapman returned the kick 73 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown 12 seconds into the game. Six minutes later Chris Miller caught a 12-yard pass from quarterback Zevi Eckhaus for a 14-0 lead. It was Miller's 21st touchdown reception of the season, extending his school record with room to spare.

"Basically, I had a slant route and saw that the defensive back was playing off. Zev got me the ball and I made two guys miss, made my move, got up field and into the end zone. We spent a lot of time in the off-season this summer, with the main focus on trying to build that chemistry and that connection," said Miller.

"Zev has a great eye for the game and knows where to put the ball. He puts a lot of trust in me being able to get the ball and get into the end zone. The connection we've built is really great and helps in performing on the field for us."

Eckhaus then connected on a 25-yard pass to Legend Waring for a 21-0 first quarter lead. The score came after Culver City had back-to-back touchdowns from Makai Cope and Mekhi Evans-Bey negated due to penalties. Sophomore quarterback Will Schultz continued the onslaught. Schultz hit sophomore wide receiver Elijah Adams with a 9-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter.

Running back Ayinde Bankole torched the Normans with a scintillating 44-yard sprint down the left sideline for a 34-0 lead at the five-minute mark of the first half. Freshman wide receiver Ethan Harris tore through the Beverly secondary with a 35-yard touchdown reception from Schultz to end the first half lead at 41-0. The school's senior cheerleaders, dancers and marching band members were honored during the halftime ceremonies.

"The younger guys went on the field and did what I expected them to do," Miller said. "They're ready for the moment just as much as we are. We put them on the field because we trust and have faith in them. They have all the ability in the world. They put their minds to it and did a great job."

The entire second half was played under a continuous clock, only allowing a few possessions by the Centaur offense. Yet, they capitalized with a 62-yard catch and run touchdown pass from Emari Pait to Waring down the right sideline as the third quarter ended. Freshman running back Deshunn "D.J." Powell capped off the final score with a 48-yard crowd-pleasing gauntlet run through Beverly's defense. All of the focus is now on Bishop Diego High this Friday night. A win by the Centaurs will put them on the road for Round 2. Miller and his teammates are confident but not looking ahead. "It's playoffs now and the undefeated record doesn't matter. We're zero and zero right now. The coaches definitely know that, so we're going to put in even more work than we have before," Miller said.

Fred Altieri

City threats - wide receiver Makai Cope (3) and quarterback Zevi Eckhaus (4)

"The experience definitely plays a role and gives us a little more confidence going into these types of games," he added. "But it also lets us know what type of game we're going to be in. We know it's win or go home but we're not going to go home. We're going to keep working and keep grinding and come out on top."

Miller is enjoying his fourth year with the varsity squad and reflected on his mentors from the previous three seasons. "Last year we had one of the best receiving corps that this teams ever had. My guys Jamal (Glaspie, currently at Fresno State University) and Kevin (McGuire, University of Idaho), I really looked up to those guys," Miller said.

"I picked up a lot from them and just tried to implement it into my game. I've definitely learned a lot from all of these past seniors and it's definitely showed on the field. It's been a great ride in a great program. It's really about family. I've gotten close to all the guys and coaches and it's been a great four years. Senior Night was a great night. It felt good to cap it off like that."

 

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