Culver City Observer -

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By Steve Finley
Sports Editor 

Centaurs play must win game against Santa Monica on Senior Night

 

October 27, 2022

GEORGE LAASE

Culver City's 6'3, 210 pound linebacker Malik Lewis gets ready to make a tackle on Palos Verdes running back Conner McDonald (#4) despite being held by offensive tackle, Dominick Ungaro during the game last Friday.

After going through spring training, summer passing leagues and a nine-game

regular season schedule the 2022 regular football season comes down to the

most important game of the season. It's win or go home this Friday night against

Santa Monica on the Culver City High School campus inside the Jerry Chabola

Stadium. Kick off is set for 7 p.m.

If the Centaurs win they are in the playoffs, if they lose their season is over. It's

as simple as that. Culver City is 4-5 overall and 2-2 in the Bay league. They are

currently in third place and a win Friday will keep them in third place. The league

leader is Palos Verdes at 4-0 and the second-place team is Mira Costa with a

league record of 3-1. Both of those team beat Culver City and Redondo Union is in

fourth with a league record of 2-2.

Culver City beat Redondo Union and that's the difference in the standings.

Redondo Union plays Mira Costa on Friday and if they upset the Mustangs and

the Centaurs lose to the Vikings, Redondo Union will go to the playoffs. If both

teams win Culver City will advance because they beat Redondo Union. If the third

place Centaurs make it to the CIF plays anything can happen. Just ask the

Philadelphia Phillies. They finished third in the National League East and they

were the last team in the majors to make the playoffs. Now they are going to the

World Series against the Houston Astros.

"Right now, we are fighting for our football lives," said Culver City head varsity

coach Jahmal Wright last Sunday. "Our goal is to make the playoffs. We

understand that the top three teams in the league will have an extended season.

It's real important for us to win the game against Santa Monica."

After losing to Palos Verdes last Friday night, 28-7, coach Wright and the rest of

his coaching staff has to make sure the players stay focused and keep their spirits

at a high level. "Yes, we are disappointed that we did not play well in the second

half but I am proud of the fight the team showed. Now it's time for us to get back

to playing our best football and moving forward so we can be ready for Santa

Monica and the playoffs."

Against Palos Verdes Culver City continued to make mistakes throughout the

game. Penalties and missed assignments hurt the Centaurs. "We had a tough time

getting our offense going," said Wright. "Palos Verdes did a good job up front,

controlling the line of scrimmage. They really gave us problems.

"Truthfully the main reason we had our offensive struggles was because of the

penalties," said Wright. "We had a lot of holding penalties. We would gain yards

and get a penalty, then it would be first and 25 yards, instead of positive yardage

we were looking at negative yardage. It happened multiple times. We had some

big offensive plays that were called backed that really hurt us."

Wright continued to talk about the loss to Palos Verdes. "They were a physical

team and they did a good job with their running game and their offensive and

defensive lines played a solid game. I never like to make excuses but some of our

players were sick with the flu during the week leading up to the Palos Verdes

game but they are a good, well coached team."

Now the Centaurs need to wipe the slate clean and focus on Santa Monica. The

Vikings are the last place team in the Bay league but in sports that means

absolutely nothing. "Santa Monica has a solid program with a very good coaching

staff," said Wright. "They have a young quarterback that can really throw the ball.

They also have some talented receivers that can make plays." The quarterback is

freshman Wyatt Brown, their top running back is senior Samuel Lipshy and their

top receivers are seniors Gus Reyman and Joaquin Nava.

Wright is hoping the Centaurs tough regular season schedule will help them

against Santa Monica. Their preseason opponents had a combined record of 31-

14 and their Bay league opponents are 25-14. Overall their opponents were 56-

28. "I think adversity always builds character," said Wright. "I think we are battle

tested. I think moving forward and looking at the some of the really good teams

we played, that should help us against Santa Monica and in the playoffs."

Playing a last place team can sometimes create psychological let down

GEORGE LAASE

Culver City wide receiver, Stachtin Wilson looks for running room after making a catch during their loss to Palos Verdes last Friday

problems but Wright does not want to talk about that. "We are not even thinking

about a letdown. It's senior night and we are expecting our seniors to lead the

way to victory and play with a lot of fire and we understand a win puts us in the

playoffs.

"The most important thing for us is to play sound football, execute our

technique and make sure we take care of our responsibilities," said Wright. "We

understand what's in front of us what's in front of us is Santa Monica and the

playoffs. We know we have a good football team and we know we have a

talented team. The best is yet to come."

 

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