Centaurs defense corrals Mustangs in important Bay League win
October 7, 2021
Coaches say offense wins games but defense wins championships. If that's the case Culver City's 16-9 victory over a good Mira Costa team last Friday night at Culver City maybe their stepping stone to another league championship. It's still early in league play to talk about championships but the Centaurs took a big step towards accomplishing their goal with their win over Mira Costa on Homecoming night.
Sports creates funny situations. Two weeks ago, the Centaurs played one of their worst games of the year on offense and defense but against Mira Costa they played their best game of the year, especially on defense. "We got back to the fundamentals in practice this week," said defensive coordinator Derrick Huezo after the game last week. "On Mondays' practice we kind of revved up the intensity. We went back to the things that we were doing in the summer that we kind of got away from."
Now the 3-2 Centaurs have to get ready for 1-5 Redondo Union Friday at 7 p.m. at Redondo. Culver City is tied for first place in the league with Peninsula at 1-0 and they can't afford a let down against Redondo. The defense has to stay focused every week. "The guys just need to do what they are supposed to do," said Huezo. "We have a talented group of guys. I will match our 11 defensive players against any 11 offensive players. I have a lot of faith in those guys."
One those players is Mason Merriwether. The 6'5 320-pound player that plays offense and defense made one of the biggest plays of the game when he sacked Mira Costa's senior quarterback Casey Pavlick late in the fourth quarter. "I stepped up in a big moment because I knew my team needed me," said a smiling Merriwether after the game. "I am so happy about that and I am so happy for my team."
Merriwhether had this to say about his big play. "I saw that the tackle kept hitting me and sliding off so that time I swiped his hands off me and I attacked the inside and I was able to get to the quarterback."
Long time assistant coach Cornell Myles had a feeling the defense was going to have a big game against the Mustangs. "We told the defense all week long that they cannot worry about our offense. We told them whatever they do we have to go play defense. That's our mindset. It was a big win. We are 1-0 in the Bay league and we are the defending champs."
With a young quarterback the Centaurs will need to continue to apply defensive pressure. "Our defensive coordinator did a great job with as real good game plan," said Culver City's head coach Jahmal Wright. "The line and linebackers played a great game. For Mason to weigh 320 pounds and playing offense and defense, and to get a key sack on the quarterback, that's a big-time play. Mason is showing great leadership."
Wright continue to say, "It feels great. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we did not want to lose two games in a row. We haven't lost two games in a row since 2015. We know the Bay league games are important so we are going to take it one game at a time."
Another player who has had an outstanding season despite playing the first several games with a cast on his right hand is running back and defensive back Deshunn Powell. He is making big plays on offense and defense. "My hand feels good," said Powell after the Mira Costa game "It feels good to be playing with out the cast and it feels incredible that we played a good game. We were in a dog fight and the boys came through. Our defense was wonderful tonight. We all connected and made plays as a group."
Now all the Centaurs have to do is stay connected against Redondo Union on
Friday night. "Now we move on to Redondo. We have to shift gears and focus on Redondo,' said Wright.