Culver City football travels to Santa Monica on Friday night

The Culver City varsity football team will try to stay focused this Friday night when they take on the last place team in the Bay league. The Santa Monica Vikings are 1-6 overall and 0-2 in league play. The Centaurs are 5-3 overall and 3-1 in the Bay league, which puts them in second place behind 4-0 Palos Verdes. The game against Santa Monica will be played at Santa Monica Community College at 7 p.m.

Last Friday the Centaurs loss 36-17 to Palos Verdes on the road. Mistakes and turnovers once again put Culver City behind the eight-ball in the first half of the game. At halftime the score was 22-3 in favor of the Sea Kings.

"I thought we played a solid defensive game, but we also made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of missed opportunities that really hurt us when we were trying to get back into the game," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright in a telephone interview this week.

Wright is still waiting for his team to play a complete game. "After the game last week, we knew we left a lot of money on the table. Our team is hungry to get back out on the field to redeem themselves. I like the vibe I am getting from the team. They are ready to take some of their frustrations out on Santa Monica. We have to get back to playing mistake free football and not letting the other team off the hook. The self-inflicted wounds really hurt us."

Playing a clean game starts with the offense. With a freshman quarterback the offense has been inconsistent this season. "We make a lot of mistakes on all three levels of offense," said Wright. "It really stops our momentum. We are moving the ball up and down the field, but we will have a couple of real good plays and then we will have a couple of bad plays. As soon as we become more consistent on the offensive side, we will be better."

The Centaurs continue to chase consistent play, but the season is approaching the final few games. Santa Monica is their last league game before the CIF playoffs start the following weekend. Time waits for no one.

Wright is hoping the offense can catch up to the defense. Although the defense gave up 36 points to Palos Verdes Wright still had a lot of good things to say about the way they played against the Sea Kings. "It really wasn't one particular player but as a unit we played well."

When the offense, defense or special teams play well there is always a few players that stand out. Against Palos Verdes it was William Schultz on defense. He is having an outstanding season. Against the Sea Kings he had 10 tackles and two interceptions. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown. Schultz is a 6'0 185-pound senior strong safety.

"William really showed his senior leadership, and he really made some great plays for us," said Wright. "He is very intelligent. He played quarterback his freshman and sophomore years. He is a 3.5 student, and he has always been a student of the game. He is also a three-sport athlete. He plays soccer, football and he runs track. He has a great work ethic and that really prepares him to be a senior leader. He is a young man of high character. He has a high IQ and that helps to keep everybody in line."

Culver City has the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs but right now they have to concentrate on Santa Monica. "At the present time we are focused on Santa Monica and ourselves," said Wright. "We are taking it one play at a time. Let's just try to do our job without making mistakes. We are just trying to execute our assignments to the best of our ability."

This season has brought Wright and his staff many challenges because for the first time in many years the Centaurs are playing inexperience players at the skilled positions.

Wright appears to be embracing the challenges with open arms. "This is a different team with different challenges. We have a lot of new players. We have gotten better since the beginning of the season. We are not a finished product, but this team is making me a better coach."


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