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By Steve Finley
Sports Editor 

Centaurs battle the Golden Hawks in the CIF football playoffs


November 3, 2022

Culver City wide receiver Mateo Torres slices through two Santa Monica Viking defenders to score a 34-yard TD pass.

It's that time of the year again when the high school football season starts to heat up. It's called the playoffs and for the 16th time in the last 17 years the Culver City varsity football team is in the prestigious CIF playoffs. The Culver City Centaurs travel to Placentia on Friday to try to clip the wings of the El Dorado Golden Hawks at 7 p.m. in the Division 6 playoffs.

Coming off a 28-0 victory over rival Santa Monica on Senior night at Culver City last Friday the Centaurs hope to keep the momentum going this Friday against a good El Dorado team. The Centaurs finished the season with an Even-Steven record of 5-5 while the Golden Hawks enter the first-round playoff game with a record of 7-3. The Centaurs finished third in the Bay league with a record of 3-2. Both teams appear to have solid offenses and good defenses.

"As we watch the film, we are learning more about El Dorado," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright last Sunday. "They have a running back that they hang their hat on and they are a tough, hard nose football team that is going to be a tough first round opponent for sure."

El Dorado's offense is led by 6'3, 196-pound quarterback, Nate Bento who has thrown for 1348 yards and 18 touchdowns. Their top running back, Isaiah Quintero has run for 1187 yards and he also averaging 7.7 yards per carry. Their receiving group is led Gaven Rivera with 488 yards, Ryan Sugar has caught passes for 352 yards and Brett Chiotti has 259 yards receiving.

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Culver City will counter with their own set of offensive and defensive stars. On offense they are led by quarterback, Sammy Silvia, running back Maurice Burgess and receivers Mateo Torres, Myles Singleton, Elliot Wright and Braylon Singleton. On defense they will rely on linebackers Malik Lewis, J.R. Kirkwood, Pierce Reynoso and Nick Badour. The defensive line is anchored by Tate Duve, Keenan Carter, Darryl Davis and Chuka Anuluoha. Henry Brownlow handles the kicking duties.

Players and coaches know the playoffs bring a new level of intensity. "We are in a really good position to make a run in the playoffs," said Torres last Friday night after they beat Santa Monica. "We have played some really tough opponents this year when it comes down to it. We have played teams that are equally matched or a lit little bit better than us so we know we can play with any team if we don't make so many mistakes. If we play near perfect games in the playoffs, we can make a deep run. I truly believe that."

Long time assistant coach Reggie Haynes is confident that the Centaurs have enough talent to compete in the playoffs. "We can make a run this year. Our team is talented enough that we can win some playoff games. We have players who have great athletic ability, and they are smart players who have strong football backgrounds, but we need to stay locked in and mentality focused."

Defensive lineman Carter had this to say about his team beating Santa Monica and getting ready for the playoffs. "The season was up and down but we came out here tonight to play Santa Monica and we got the win. As a whole team we need to play as one unit. We have to come together as a brotherhood and practice as one, and we should not point any fingers. We need to stay together and play Culver City football in the playoffs."

Beating Santa Monica was special for many reasons according to head defensive coach Derrick Huezo. "It feels good to get the shut out, but the most important thing tonight was to get all the players in the game. I am glad they got the opportunity to play. Everyone played well. We hold everyone from top to bottom accountable and we expect them to perform."

Now the Centaurs will have to perform at the highest level if they expect to beat the El Dorado Golden Hawks on Friday night.


Culver City running back Maurice Burgess runs into the end zone for six points against Santa Monica

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