Culver City looks forward to playoff action in the desert
November 4, 2021
The Centaurs will begin their 2021 CIF Playoff quest in the
desert town of Indio. Culver City High Football will travel roughly
140 miles to Shadow Hills High for this Friday night's Division 6
Round 1 matchup. (Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m.) The Centaurs (6-3)
finished second in the Bay League while the Knights (8-2)
finished third in Desert Empire League. The contest promises to
be a contrast of styles.
Culver City ended the regular season with a 27-0 shutout
victory over Santa Monica High last Friday at the Vikings home
field at Santa Monica College. The Centaurs were able to bookend
shutouts on their season schedule as they had previously
defeated West Torrance in the first game of the season, 31-0.
The win gave them a 3-1 record in League for the 2021 season
and an overall 7-1 record since transferring to the Bay League
"I truthfully thought we'd be a little bit sharper than what we
were on Friday night against Santa Monica. But I get it. Every
game is different. I thought we were close to winning the La
Serna game and the Palos Verdes game. We just made too many
turnovers," said Centaurs head coach Jahmal Wright reviewing
the overall season. Another win would have likely given the team
a home game to begin the Playoffs. However, Culver City will
host Round 2 if they beat Shadow Hills.
The Centaurs' and Knights' respective designed offenses are
totally opposite of each other. Culver City relies on an aerial
attack, averaging 269.4 yards and 21.4 completions per game in
passing. The rushing game is very supportive, averaging 116.8
yards per game. They have passed the ball 304 total times in
nine games this season compared to 197 total running plays. The
Centaurs have scored a total of 19 times through the air and 10
times on the ground.
On the other hand, Shadow Hills prefers a ground attack with
266 total carries this season compared to throwing the ball only
148 times. Yet, their 130.4 yards per game average passing is
greater than their 91.7 yards per game rushing the ball. The
Knights had a total of 10 passing touchdowns and nine rushing
touchdowns. They scored a total of 210 points compared to 247
total points for Culver City. Defensively, the Knights were a lot
stingier than the Centaurs, allowing only 73 total points for the
season compared to Culver City allowing 171.
"They have a very good defense. They move around a lot.
They're going to be ready for us," said Wright about the Knights.
"They're a well-coached team. They're a tough, physical, hard-
nosed team that plays with a lot of pride. So, we have our hands
full. They're definitely going to use the ground game to eat up
Both Shadow Hills losses came in league play, and
interestingly, both were home games. They got beat at 20-7 by
Xavier Prep four weeks ago and lost last Thursday's contest in
overtime, 17-14, to Desert Empire Champions, Palm Desert. The
game ended in regulation, 7-7, and Shadow Hills took a 14-7
lead in overtime. But Palm Desert tied the game up and then
kicked a 35-yard field goal on the next possession to disappoint
Culver City won their last League game, including four of their
last five games. The Centaurs scored quickly against Santa
Monica. Running back Jamiere Munson blazed a 54-yard trail into
the endzone after catching a lateral pass to the right sideline.
The score was 7-0 barely four minutes into the game after kicker
Diego Caldera converted the first of his three successful extra-
The Centaur defense was ready from the first snap as Santa
Monica's offense rarely got out of first gear for the entire game.
The defense has been the strongest team phase all season and
Friday night was no exception as they held the Vikings to under
150 yards of total offense. The passing defense was great,
allowing only 11 of 33 completions for 85 yards. Cornerback D.J.
Powell had an interception as well, giving him three for the
Munson added another touchdown at 5:12 in the second
quarter to give the Centaurs a 14-0 halftime lead. The 31-yard
elusive touchdown run was emblematic of his rushing all season.
"Jamiere has very good vision and used toughness to elude
defenders. Even with guys running next to him he's able to
navigate through the defense and get into the endzone. He made
some moves, but he did have some help from his blockers," said
Quarterback Alonzo Esparza drove the Centaurs the length of
the field to open the third quarter, culminating with a 9-yard
touchdown pass to wide receiver Elijah Adams at the right goal
line pylon. Wright: "Santa Monica was in man-to-man coverage,
and we liked our matchup with Elijah and went to it. That was a
nice pass and a great job catching the ball." Culver City led 21-0.
Munson scored his third touchdown of the game six seconds into
the fourth quarter, a 3-yard run up the middle to finish off the
scoring for the game.
Culver City unloaded it's bench in the fourth quarter allowing
reserve players time on the field to help the Centaurs prepare for
the CIF Playoffs. No less than 23 players made tackles for the
defense. They were led by Malik Lewis, who had eight total
tackles. William Schultz and Nick Badour had seven tackle each.
Powell and Marco Ramirez each had six tackles while six players
had five tackles each: Munson, C.J. Robinson, Tristen Williams,
Pierce Reynoso, Connor Panapa, and Chuka Anuluoha.
Ramirez had three tackles for loss while Keenan Carter and
Badour had one tackle for loss each. Robinson had two pass
deflections, Munson and Powell had one each. Powell also
returned two punts including one for 26 yards. Caldera punted
the ball three times, with one going for 43 yards.
Offensively, Esparza completed 23 of 34 passes for 281
yards, two touchdown passes and one interception. He finished
the regular season with 193 completions for 2,425 total yards
and 19 touchdown passes thrown. Esparza threw at least two
touchdowns in seven of nine games, including three touchdown
passes in three games.
D.J. Powell led all rushers with seven carries for 78 yards, an
11.1 yard per rush average. Munson carried four times for 29
yards and two touchdowns. Jerin Stanton rushed for 28 yards on
three carries and Kalieb Johnson carried three times for 12 yards.
The Centaurs totaled 142 yards on 19 carries for a 7.5 yard per
Darius Poles had five receptions for 61 yards to lead the
receivers. Elijah Adams had two catches for 17 yards and one
touchdown. Munson had one 54-yard catch for a touchdown.
Ryan Franklin and Leo Matsuoka had three catches each. Three
other receivers had two catches each: Mateo Torres, Jaden
Villareal, and Kaiden Whitt, who received a rousing applause
from his teammates as he made his first receptions as a Centaur.
The winner of the Culver City – Shadow Hills game will face the
winner of the Camarillo – Millikan match in Round 2
(Quarterfinals), which will be played on Friday, November 12. CIF
Playoff Round 3 (Semifinals) will be held on Friday, November
19, and the Finals will be held on Friday, November 26.
"I'm proud of our team, earning second place in league with a
lot of brand-new players and a freshman quarterback. And I
really think that our best football is in front of us," concluded
"I like our chances on Friday night. We have very contrasting
styles. They're physical, so we're going to have to match that.
But, they also have to match up with our speed and playmakers.
So, we're excited about that."