CCHS Centaurs battle MC Mustangs in Bay League opener

It doesn't get any easier for the Culver City High School varsity football team. After playing two of the best teams in Southern California the last two weeks the Centaurs will now play the top-rated team in the Bay League on Friday on the road at 7 p.m. when they face off against the 4-1 Mira Costa Mustangs.

After losing last Friday night, 42-7 to La Serna in Whittier, Culver City is now 2-3. The week before that they were beaten by Warren in Downey. Now they travel to Manhattan Beach on Friday night. "Mira Costa is a well-coached team," said Culver City head football coach Jahmal Wright after practice last Monday. "We have a lot of respect for coach Don Morrow. He has been coaching at Mira Costa for a long time and he has a lot of experience."

Wright continued to say this about Mira Costa, "The 2022 Mira Costa offense is explosive. They push the ball down the field. They have two really good receivers, and they also have a physical running back. They have put up a lot points this year. They are a formidable opponent." The Mustangs are led by their sophomore quarterback Nicolas De la cruz, running back Matthew Kraskouskas and receivers Reese Leonard and Cole Crotty.

The past two seasons the games between the Centaurs and the Mustangs have come down to the wire. Two years ago, at Mira Costa Culver City won on a last second touchdown pass on a cold and foggy night. "We expect it to be another hard nose battle," said Wright.

Friday will be the fourth week in a row that the Centaurs will be playing a road game. "We have been on the road for a few weeks and now we will be going into another hostile environment," Wright. "We will be ready for that environment and now more is at stake because it's a league game."

In sports there is preseason and the regular season and at the high school and college level the most important part of the season is when you play league games. "We played a tough non-league schedule to get us ready for the battles in the Bay League so now it's time to shift our focus and learn from our mistakes and play well in the league and get ready for the playoffs."

The Bay League has several teams that have improved. Redondo, Culver City's opponent on October 7, is the most improved team in the league. They are 5-0 after struggling the past few years. "I see a lot of parity in our league," said Wright. "You have Palos Verdes who are the defending league champions. They are always poised to take another league title. You have Mira Costa who is the highest ranked team in our league, and they are playing their best football right now. Redondo has a new coach, and they are the only unbeaten team in our league. Then you have Culver City, Peninsula and Santa Monica has a new coach.

Wright continued to talk about the Bay League, "There is a lot of good football being played in the Bay League and there are a lot of evenly matched teams, so I expect each league game to be a tough hard-fought game. The team that makes the least amount of mistakes will win the games."

The loss to La Serna last week was a carbon copy of Culver City's other two losses. They fell behind early and the offense could not get untracked. "We had a slow start against La Serna and we can't turn the ball over and offensively we have to find a way to not to put our defense in bad situations. That's what we have to guard against, and we need to find a way to get into a rhythm offensively. We just need to start faster and keep the pressure on the other team."

An old rivalry will be renewed on Friday night in Manhattan Beach when the Centaurs and Mustangs clash. "We want to go out there and keep playing hard. It won't be easy, but we are excited, and we will be ready for the challenge."

The Culver City girls' volleyball team is currently 9-6 overall and 0-3 in the Bay League. They travel to Venice on Monday for a 4:30 game, they are on the road against Redondo Union next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and they play a home game against Peninsula on Friday, October 7, at 4:45 p.m.

The 4-7 boy's water polo team will play a home game on Tuesday, October 4, against Palos Verdes at 3:30 p.m. at the Vets Park pool on Overland Ave. in Culver City.


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