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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

Culver City advances to the CIF quarterfinals with a victory over Ayal


November 9, 2023

The Culver City High School football team had to travel far but earned a hard fought 38-28 victory over the Ayala high school Bulldogs, in a first round CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoff game last Friday. The game was played at the Yates Field Stadium in Chino Hills, an inland empire city about 50 miles from Culver City.

Now the 8-3 Centaurs advance to the CIF quarterfinals on Friday against the 8-3 Capistrano Valley Cougars at home inside Jerry Chabola Stadium on the Culver City Culver City High School campus. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

"They are a tough team that played in a real tough league," said Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright. "They play some good football in the South Coast league. It's a really good Orange County league with teams like San Clemente, Mission Veijo and Tesoro. Those are very good teams. Capistrano Valley is battled tested, and they are well coached. They are a very physical team, and they are used to playing in big games."

Last Friday Capistrano Valley beat a good Downey team 37-34 with a 41-yard field goal on the last play of the game. The Cougars are led by linebacker Jackson Sievers, a UC Davis commit, and dual threat quarterback Tommy Acosta.

Against Ayala the Centaurs never trailed in the game, but the game was close throughout. The Centaurs scored first to take a 7-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown run which was set up by a catch-and run of 54 yards by wide receiver Myles Singleton. The Bulldogs tied the score at 7-7 with a touchdown of their own and that is the way the first quarter ended.

Centaur quarterback Sammy Silvia connected on a 15-yard scoring pass to Singleton to give the Centaurs a 14-7 lead second quarter. The Bulldogs tied it at 14-14 on a one-yard plunge by Bulldog quarterback Maximus Barroso. The Centaurs came back to take a 21-14 lead on a five-yard touchdown throw to Singleton.

It seemed that the Centaurs might break the game open when they took a 28-14 lead with 3:42 remaining in the second quarter on a 51-yard touchdown run by running back Pierce Reynoso, who took off around the right end, broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and went untouched to the end zone.

But the Bulldogs were not done for the half, scoring on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Barroso to wide receiver Drew Amico with just 16.8 seconds remaining in the second quarter. That made the score 28-21 at halftime.

The second half started with an onside kick recovery by the Bulldogs, which gave the Bulldogs the extra possession they needed to tie the score at 28-28 on another Barroso scoring toss. On the ensuing kickoff, the Bulldogs again attempted an onside kickoff and recovered the kick, but the officials ruled that the ball had not traveled ten yards, so possession was awarded to the Centaurs.

From that point on in the game, the Centaurs took control of the game defensively, shutting out the Bulldogs for the rest of the game, and took the lead for good with a field goal of 27 yards by Henry Brownlow with 1:58 left in the third quarter. They added a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Silvia to Singleton to close out the scoring.

The Bulldogs did have another opportunity to score late in the game, but a fourth and one attempt from the Culver City 21 yard-line was stuffed by the defense, falling short by inches. The Bulldogs, champions of the Mountain West League, had a great performance from their two-way star Marquis Monroe, who rushed for 103 yards and one touchdown and added four receptions for 87 yards. They finished the season 6-5.

"It was a great game," said Wright. "We played a quality opponent that was ranked No. 3 in Division 4. It was a battle back and forth until Henry gave us the lead with his field goal and he was five for five making his extra points and he also made a game saving tackle on a kickoff return after we went up by three points. Henry ran the player down. That play was huge for us. His overall kicking game was outstanding."

Wright was also very pleased with the play his quarterback, Silvia, running back Reynoso and receiver Singleton played. Silvia completed 23 0f 28 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. "Sammy played his best game of the year by far," said Wright. "He was really efficient. It was our best game of the season offensively. Overall, it was a great team win."

Reynoso carried the ball 17 times for 163 yards and one touchdown and Singleton caught 10 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored running the ball for a total of four touchdowns. His brother, Braylon Singleton caught three passes for 77 yards.

On defense linebacker J.R. Kirkwood had 17 tackles and three tackles for a loss. Linebacker Reynoso had 10 tackles and Braylon Singleton recorded nine tackles and one interception and Myles Singleton also had a key interception.

The winner of the game on Friday will advance to the CIF Division 4 semifinals. If Culver City wins they will face the winner of the Trabuco Hills against La Serna game on Friday, November 17.


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