Crenshaw players pose with the City championship trophy at the Coliseum for a second consecutive season.
Crenshaw’s Shaquille Shelton returns an interception for a first quarter touchdown, just moments after teammate De’Anthony Thomas returned an interception for a touchdown. Photos by Jason Lewis
Carson may have been the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but Crenshaw proved what everybody knew, they were really the No. 1 team as they defeated Carson 45-7 in the Division I City championship game.
By Jason Lewis
The staple of Crenshaw’s City dominance has been a devastating defense, and they flexed their muscles against Carson on the way to a 45-7 blowout victory for their second consecutive City Section Division I title.
Crenshaw struggled offensively for most of the game, but they were able to run up the score by returning three interceptions for touchdowns (De’Anthony Thomas, Shaquille Shelton, and Marcus Wright returned interceptions for touchdowns), a fourth interception, which was Thomas’ second of the game, set up another touchdown, and a fifth interception, this one by Qujuan Floyd, set up a field goal. Crenshaw also picked up two points when Yohance Salimu blocked a punt out of the back of the endzone.
Crenshaw’s front seven was in Carson’s backfield all day long, causing errant throws by Carson’s Justin Alo for most of the game, which led to all of the interceptions. Carson ran many of their passing plays out of an empty backfield set while Crenshaw brought the blitz, with one and sometimes two defenders charging in unblocked with an unobstructed path to Alo.
It was somewhat of an unsettling feeling to watch Alo take the snap and within seconds be attacked by multiple Crenshaw defenders.
Carson could have done themselves a favor by keeping in a running back or a tight end to block, but they seemed intent to crash and burn with their offensive game plan.
Carson’s defense showed up and played well for most of the game, as Crenshaw only had two touchdown drives that started on their own side of the field. Thomas rushed for 136 yards on 12 carries, and had one of the most amazing 12-yard touchdown runs you’ll ever see, but their drives consistently stalled as they tried to mix in passing plays, most of which failed.
But even with Crenshaw’s lack luster offensive performance, their defense was so imposing that they were able to run up the score from that side of the ball. They punched Carson in the mouth early and often, and they capitalized on Carson’s mistakes.
The difference in the first half between the two teams was pretty much three plays. Crenshaw intercepted three passes, which led to two touchdowns and a field goal. Carson intercepted two passes and did not get anything out of them.
Carson is a very good team, which allowed them to capture the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, but Crenshaw has a special team with special players. They have a way of capturing the moment.
Crenshaw has demolished City opponents the last two seasons, and if it weren’t for two close losses to two very good teams during their non-league schedule, this Crenshaw team would be on their way to a second consecutive State Bowl game.
Crenshaw head coach Robert Garrett takes on all comers instead of putting cream puffs on the schedule just to get an undefeated season. Last year it worked in Crenshaw’s favor, as they beat some of the best teams in Southern California, but this year it did not as they lost two games. But Garrett and his team get a ton of credit for stepping up to the challenge when a lot of other big-time programs will duck a team like Crenshaw.
This Crenshaw team has been one of the greatest that the City has ever seen, and Garrett and his staff have a younger crop coming up through the pipelines. Their run might not be over just yet.