Culver City football loses playoff game to Camarillo


November 18, 2021

Culver City kicker Diego Caldera's field goal gave the Centaurs a short-lived 21-20 lead over Camarillo last Friday night. The holder is William Schultz. Caldera kicks scored 39 points for the Centaurs. He made 27 out of 29 extra point kicks and he made five of seven field goals. He average 32.9 yards on his punts and kicked off. In short he handled all of the kicking duties for the Centaurs.

The Culver City varsity football team's season ended last Friday night when the No. 1 seeded team in the Division 6 CIF playoffs, Camarillo, beat the Centaurs, 23-21 in a thrilling contest on the Culver City campus.

The Centaurs led 14-6 at halftime but the Camarillo Scorpions scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 20-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. Culver City scored seven points in fourth quarter to take a one-point lead. After a big turn over by Culver City late in the game Camarillo kicked a field goal to make the final score 23-21.

The Centaurs finished the season with a record of 7-4. This was supposed to be a rebuilding season, but they surprised a lot of people by finishing second with a record of 4-1 in the tough Bay League. They won their first playoff game against Shadow Hill, 21-9 but they could not get pass Camarillo.

That's the bad news. The good news is next year their freshman quarterback will be another year older. Alonzo Esparza completed 238 passes out of 372 attempts for 2992 yards and 24 touchdowns but he threw 19 interceptions. When he learns how to read defenses a little better, he could become Culver City's next great quarterback. He started all 11 games this season.

Also returning on offense is his number one receiver, junior Ethan Harris who caught 46 passes for 911 yards in eight games and junior Darius Poles had 48 receptions for 527 yards. Senior Ryan Franklin caught 33 passes in just seven games and senior Elijah Adams had 32 receptions in 10 games.

Centaurs will lose their number one running back, Jamiere Munson to graduation but their number two back, Deshunn Powell will return for his senior year in 2022. Munson carried the ball 118 times for 837 yards and Powell had 235 yards on 34 carries.

Several players will return on the offensive line led by juniors Mason Merriwether and Robert Bobby Singerman. The Centaurs are loaded at the offensive line positions for the next few years.

This year the special teams were led by kicker Diego Caldera. Caldera was coached by Greg Goodyear. Goodyear, the most devoted coach in Culver City football history continued to coach Caldera while he was gravely ill, fighting cancer. The athletic Caldera developed into one of the best kickers in Culver City football history.

On defense it all started up front. The defense had a great season, and the line played a huge part in their success. The line was led by senior Bryce Williams and Merriwether. Other players that play played well on the line was sophomore Keenan Carter, junior Connor Panapa, junior Chuka Anuluoha and junior Courtlen Scott.

Centaur quarterback Alonzo Esparza completed 27 of 44 passes for 370 and three touchdowns and two interceptions in Culver City's 23-21 loss to Camarillo in the CIF-SS Division 6 quarterfinal playoff game.

Linebackers that had good seasons were senior Prince Okorie, junior Nick Badour, senior Jasani Pitts, senior Aaron Salasand, and senior Marco Ramirez.

In the defensive backfield the Centaurs relied on senior Munson, junior Malik Lewis, junior Jerin Stanton and senior Chauncy Robinson. According to Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright the player that held the potent defense together was senior defensive back William Schultz. "He was the quarterback of the defense," said Wright. Schultz was also the holder for Caldera's many field goals and extra points.

Although the loss to Camarillo hurts the Centaurs have built a foundation over the over years that puts them in position to continue to be successful. With a lot of returning stars and a great coaching staff the future looks bright for Culver City High School football.


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