By Steve Finley Sports Editor
High school football homecoming night creates a special atmosphere for everyone involved. Coaches, players, fans and cheerleaders will create memories that will last a lifetime. On Friday night the 3-2 Culver City Centaurs will battle the 0-5 Mira Costa Mustangs at 7 p.m. inside the Jerry Chabola Stadium on the Culver City high school campus. It’s a rivalry game, the Westside versus the South Bay.
Don’t let Mira Costa’s record deceive you. They have played a brutal preseason schedule. The five teams that they have lost to are a combined 25-2, so toss the records out the window. This should be an outstanding Bay League opener. The Centaurs come into the game as a slight favorite because of the team speed.
“It’s going to be a war,” said Centaur head coach Jahmal Wright this week after practice. “We have a lot of respect for Mira Costa and coach (Don) Morrow and their coaching staff. Coach Morrow always has his team ready to play. They know us well and we know them well. It’s our homecoming and the first league game so we really want to start 1-0 in the Bay League.”
After beating Dorsey 35-7 last Friday night the Centaurs are hoping to play better against Mira Costa, but Wright was happy with the win. “It’s always good to get a victory and it’s always good when you get all of the players on the field. Dorsey had some good athletes on their team. It was a good team win, and I am proud of the progress we have made during the preseason.”
Mira Costa beat the Centaurs last season, so this game is very important to Culver City’s All-CIF senior lineman Keenan Carter. The 6’1, 290-pound Carter is ready for his final game against the Mustangs. “I think this year we can beat them, but the offensive line has to come together and get ready for Mira Costa.”
Another Centaurs player thinks the key to the game is setting the tone from the opening kickoff. “We just have to start fast,” said junior Myles Singleton. “If we start fast, we should be okay. We have to lock in and know our blocking assignments and make sure the receivers run good routes.”
Singleton knows Mira Costa will be focusing on him because he is one of the Centaurs best receivers. “I just want to do what I always do. If they key on me that will open up plays for my teammates. I just try to think every game is a normal game because if you put to much pressure on yourself, you start thinking too much instead of just going out there and playing your game.”
One person who we will be on the Culver City sideline is 2020 Centaur graduate and former homecoming King, Michael Goldberg. Goldberg is one of Culver City’s biggest fans and if you have ever been to a Culver City sporting event you can identify him because of his red hair. “I have been around Culver City sports my whole life and I really enjoy it and I miss it,” said Goldberg who is attending Long Beach City College. “I want to attend the University of Oregon or Miami and do film work for the baseball team.”
Goldberg had this to say about the homecoming game. “I think Culver City has to play a clean game against Mira Costa. The Warren game was pretty clean compared to the Dorsey game. The Centaurs need to capitalize on their opportunities. If they do that, they will win the game.”
According to Wright the offensive has to do a better job up front, controlling the line of scrimmage. “We need to make sure we play our game and that means we need to take advantage of our athleticism and our speed.”
Culver City’s defensive coordinator Derrick Huezo knows his defense will have their hands full. “It’s going to be about the guys up front. If we control the line of scrimmage, we should have a successful night but if we can’t and if we allow them to run the ball it’s going to be a long night. We know Mira Costa is a very good football team regardless of their record because we know they played some very good teams in the preseason.
“Our lineman must be aggressive at the point of attack and controlling the gaps and they need to fly around and make plays. The linebackers need to make plays from sideline to sideline. We have some very good athletes that play linebacker. In the secondary, the Singleton brothers, Myles and Braylon will be at the corners and the safeties, James Wright, my brother and Cash Mahoney will be ready to play.”
The key to the game may be the play of Culver City’s senior kicker, Henry Brownlow. The 6’4 Brownlow has been outstanding in the kicking game this year and if the game comes down to a winning field goal Brownlow has the talent and experience to get the job done.
“We are expecting and packed house,” said Wright. “We want it to be loud in the stands so we can have a real home field advantage on homecoming night.”