Centaurs lose to Cubs, battle Bulldogs Friday night
September 9, 2021
The 1-1 Culver City varsity football team will face another tough non-league game Friday when they take on the Pasadena high school Bulldogs at 7 p.m. This will be the Centaurs first home game of the year after two games on the road against West Torrance and Loyola of Los Angeles. They beat West Torrance and lost to Loyola last Friday night.
Now the Centaurs are looking to get back on the winning track against the Bulldogs after getting dominated by Loyola. The final score was 62-21. "We have some work to do," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright in a phone interview this week. "There are expectations that have built by the previous teams that our current team has to try to figure out how to live up to that legacy."
That legacy included a record of 53-15 the past six years and that also included several league championships and one CIF championship. "Losing to Loyola teaches all of us some valuable lessons," said Wright. "Rome wasn't built in a day and these kinds of battles that we lose is important for us to go through so we can get to where this team needs to go. We saw some things we need to work on, and we were exposed but I look at that as a learning lesson for us."
Wright also said the team needs to be more physical. "I was impressed how physical Loyola was. I thought we would be able to match them physically but that did not happen. Their running back, live and in person was very physical."
After a game like that, the Culver City team needs to improve on offense, defense and special teams although the Centaur kicker, senior Diego Caldera, coached by Greg Goodyear is having a very good season.
"The main thing offensively we need to improve on is to eliminate turnovers," said Wright. "We had four fumbles and one interception, so we definitely don't want to turn the over, so ball security is what we need to work on."
Wright continued to say, "Defensively we need to emphasize getting off our blocks and being more physical and guys hustling to the ball and having more guys around the football. If a ball carrier breaks a tackle, we have to have another gut there to make the play. That was not the case last Friday night."
Wright hopes the improvements pay off against a good Pasadena team Friday. The Bulldogs have several outstanding players in receiver, Mekhi Fox, quarterback Kaden Taylor and running back Ahmad Jolly. "Pasadena is a good football team," said Wright. "Taylor is a very good receiver. The kid is a ball player. It does not matter who is on him or who is covering him he is making a play. They also have some very good defensive backs. It's going to be a battle."
Some of the Centaurs that are having good seasons are quarterback, Alonzo Esparza who has completed 49 passes for 615 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Tailback Jamiere Munson has run for 264 yards and one of Esparza's favorite targets is receiver Darius Poles. He has caught 12 passes for 201 yards and one touchdown.
Other receivers that are stepping up are Ethan Harris with nine catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Elijah Adams has caught six passes for 91 yards and one touchdown and Johnny Fino has gathered in seven catches for 54 yards.
The defense has been led by linebacker Aaron Salas with 18 tackles, two for losses, safety, Malik Lewis has 16 tackles, safety William Schultz has recorded 15 tackles and one interception, linebacker Jasani Pitts has 14 tackles, lineman Conner Panapa has 11 tackles, three for losses, safety Munson has 11 tackles, cornerback D. J. Powell has 10 tackles and lineman Bryce Williams has nine tackles and four of them have been for losses.
Wright is excited to finally have a home game on Friday. "The kids love playing in front of the home crowd. Our home fans do a great job of coming out and the supporting us. I really think we have a home field advantage, so I am looking forward to the stands being packed. Because of the pandemic this will be the first game in a while where we will be able to have a big crowd. I hope the stands are packed and loud."