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November 17, 1994|SEAN WATERS


In its big game against Beverly Hills, Culver City tossed in a wrinkle by putting quarterback Damon Williams at receiver and running the option with Rashad Stroops at quarterback.

The Centaurs struggled with their new offense in the first half and trailed, 7-6, at halftime.

In the second half, Culver City moved Williams back to quarterback and the offense moved the ball at will, scoring four touchdowns en route to a 35-34 victory and 7-0 record in Ocean League play.

Beverly Hills Coach Carter Paysinger acknowledged his team was caught by surprise.

"When you commit as many players as we do on defense, it's tough to defend against the option," Paysinger said. "Our defense was designed to stop their passing game and one-back offense. It was too late to switch."

Williams rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in seven carries. When the Normans tried to shut down Williams, he pitched to running back Aki Wilson, who had 124 yards in 16 carries.

Despite the second-half turnaround by Culver City, Beverly Hills nearly won the game on an 81-yard, 14-play drive. Quarterback Chris Wallace threw a six-yard pass to Jeff Greenberg to cut the Normans' deficit to one with three seconds left. The Normans, however, failed to convert the two-point conversion when Aaron Kogan was stopped on a run. Kogan rushed for 185 yards and two touchdowns in 33 carries.

"The biggest play of the game was the two-point conversion," said Paysinger, whose team used their quota of timeouts. "After we scored our touchdown, our band began playing. We tried to call a different play from the sidelines, but Chris couldn't hear us."

The Normans (6-4) play a true option team in Covina (8-1-1) Friday at Covina District Field. The Centaurs (9-1), the top-seeded team in the Southern Section Division VII playoffs, play host to Santa Maria (1-9).


Tight end Tony Griffin had three receptions--all for touchdowns--during a 30-18 victory over Manual Arts in a Coastal Conference game Nov. 10 at Manual Arts.

Griffin's most impressive reception came in the third quarter when he reached around the waist of defensive back Bobby Jones to catch the ball before running 34 yards for a touchdown. Griffin's spectacular play gave the Comets a 30-12 lead.


Hollywood High senior running back Jevonni Walton had never played a down of organized football. Neither have five other starting offensive players for the Sheiks.

But that didn't stop the team from making history Nov. 10.

Behind the running of Walton, Hollywood qualified for the City Section 3-A Division playoffs by defeating Verdugo Hills, 21-12. The Sheiks, who finished 5-5, earned their first berth to postseason play since 1978. The last time Hollywood won the City title was 1927.

"We have no speed, no size and no experience," Hollywood Coach Bob O'Connor said.

Walton rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns in 21 carries. He scored on runs of eight and two yards and intercepted a pass on defense.

The Sheiks won four of their last five games to earn a spot in the playoffs.

Hollywood, seeded 12th, plays fifth-seeded Washington at 7 p.m. Friday at Banning High.


On Saturday, St. Monica drove 80 yards to score the winning touchdown in its 21-14 victory against Cantwell Sacred-Heart. On Friday, the Mariners must travel to Yucca Valley, which is located in the San Bernardino Mountains, 10 miles north of Palm Springs, to open the Division IX playoffs.

Playing at Yucca Valley has sent a chill up St. Monica Coach Norm Lacy's spine.

"I think it was 35 degrees during their last game," Lacy said. "We're preparing for the worst: howling winds and chilly rains."

The Mariners, who finished second to Harvard-Westlake in the Camino Real League, beat Cantwell on Steve Pulley's 15-yard pass to Jason Jones with 40 seconds left in the game. It was Pulley's 22nd touchdown pass of the season.

"Our kids are already talking about the weather and embellishing their stories," Lacy said. "By Friday, we'll be ready to play."


Yasmeen Yamini-Benjamin and Erin Irving of Crossroads High signed Division I basketball scholarships, marking the first time two Roadrunners have committed during the November signing period.

Yamini-Benjamin signed with UC Santa Barbara and Irving signed with San Jose State.

"We're ecstatic to have two girls receive scholarships," Crossroads Coach Larry Wiener said. "This is a great group of kids, and I've been very blessed to have the opportunity to work with them."

Yamini-Benjamin, a 5-foot-10 forward, averaged 12 points and nine rebounds and was selected to The Times' 1993 Westside girls' basketball second team. Yamini-Benjamin may be moved to shooting guard this season. In addition to her basketball skills, Yamini-Benjamin is the No.1 singles player on the school's tennis team.

Irving, a 6-foot guard, averaged 10 points a game last season. Wiener plans to move her to forward.

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