The Bay League plot thickens this Friday night when the 3-0 Palos Verdes Sea Kings make a house call to battle the 2-1 Culver City Centaurs at 7 p.m. inside the Jerry Chabola Stadium on the Culver City high school campus.
Overall Palos Verdes is 5-3 and Culver City is 4-4.
The game has huge implications regarding the tight league race. The Sea Kings are in first place followed by second place Mira Costa at 2-1 and third place Culver City. Mira Costa has an overall record of 6-2. Those are the top three teams and the bot- tom three are Redondo Union at 6-2 and 1-2, Peninsula at 4-4 and 1-2 and Santa Monica at 2-6 and 0-3 in league play. With two games remaining in the regular season the Bay league championship is still a three-team race.
“It’s a great league,” Culver City head coach Jahmal Wright said last Saturday. “Redondo is up and coming. Peninsula is well coached and plays hard. Mira Costa has a very good coaching staff, then you have Palos Verdes who is the class of the league. Santa Monica has a new coach in Carter Paysinger, who will turn that program around, so it’s a quality league.”
The Centaurs have won two league games in a row after losing three consecutive games during the preseason and their first league game against Mira Costa.
Last Friday, they sprinted past Peninsula 55-33 when Cul-ver City senior running back Maurice Burgess ran for 180 yards on 20 carries and eight different receivers caught passes from two Centaur quarterbacks. Burgess also scored four touch- downs. It was his third 100-yard rushing game in a row.
“The coaching staff is very proud of Maurice,” said Wright. “Once again we found something very special in Maurice last Friday.” This season Burgess has run for 700 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
Against Peninsula the offense was clicking on all cylinders. Their total offensive numbers were outstanding. They had 680 total yards, 376 passing and 304 running. “We were very well balanced on offense,” said Wright. “It’s a testament to the team when the players are positive and when they believe in the system. We started fast and it was very good team win.”
The Centaurs used two quarterbacks and both signal callers had productive days. Starting quarterback, Sammy Silvia completed 17 out of 26 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns and backup quarterback Alejandro Ortega completed seven out of nine passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. Silvia has passed for 1,760 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2022.
“Both quarterbacks are working very hard right now,” said Wright. “Remember it’s a team game. The offensive line is doing a great job opening up holes for the running backs and protecting the quarterback. The receivers are getting open and running good pass routes. I am very proud that we are using all of our weapons.”
Key players on the offensive line are senior left tackle Sun- nie Suarez, at left guard is senior Derrick Hayes, the center is senior Bobby Singerman, at right guard is sophomore Jayke Hibler and at right tackle is Brian Paredes.
According to Wright the defense is playing “lights out.” Against Peninsula they recorded two sacks made a lot of key stops and intercepted two passes. “I am very proud of our defense,” said Wright.
Against Peninsula the kicking game had a few problems. They had a punt and point after a touchdown blocked. “We need to be a little bit sharper on special teams,” said Wright.
“Even if we would have won by only one point, we needed that victory against Peninsula to put us in a position to fight for the league championship,” said long time Culver City assistant football coach Cornell Myles. “We also want to be in a position to get a good seed in the playoffs.”
To be able to beat Palos Verdes on Friday night they will have to play probably their best game of the season, which means eliminating mental and physical mistakes. “The key for us to beat Palos Verdes is to play smart football and take advantage of any mistakes they make,” said Wright. “They are a well-coached team, and they are a physical team, and we have to take what they give us. If we keep chipping away, we should be alright.”
The Sea Kings are led by their senior quarterback, 6’1, Charlie Beuerlein. He has thrown for 1150 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. The running game is controlled by seniors Conner McDonald who
has gained 387 yards and scored six touchdowns. Their other running back, Jason Roah has run for 252 yards and scored three touchdowns.
The Sea Kings top receivers are junior Luke Gayton who has caught 31 passes for 403 yards and six touchdowns, junior Michael Beresford has 10 receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown and junior Eric Mulkey has 11 receptions for 119 yards.
On paper the Centaurs and Sea Kings appear to be evenly matched, but Culver City might have the edge in overall team speed, especially on offense. “That’s been Culver City’s calling card since the 1990’s,” said Wright who was a star player for the Centaurs in the 1990s.
“We have always been known for our athleticism and for hav- ing speed. That’s what we build our team around. We are going to rely on our speed and our big play ability. Hopefully that will help us beat Palos Verdes on Friday night.”