Carson, CA- We always here the cliché that “defense wins championships.” The Carson Colts (9-3) used that saying to shut down the Crenshaw Cougars (8-4), 23-7 in a CIF LA City playoff matchup. Carson’s defense held Crenshaw’s offense to zero points in the game. This victory can be seen as rematch to last year’s playoff game that Crenshaw, the 2013 city champions, won. This year the coin was flipped while the champs were dethroned.
Carson set the tone of the game on Crenshaw’s opening drive with a Joseph Torres interception that set up a 12-yard touchdown run by Jabari Minix. This fast start by Carson gave them a 6-0 first quarter lead. Torres’ interception was one of three thrown by Daiyan Henley of Crenshaw. The pressure the Colts applied was relentless all night by their front seven. Henley, being only a sophomore, will learn a lot from this game for his next two years.
Kiki Flores, Carson’s field general at quarterback, had a solid game to allow his team to just play hard. Flores managed the game well, including connecting on a nice, 38-yard strike to Brandon Hasson in the first quarter where Colts lead 12-0 at 3:22 mark in the period. Carson’s defense stood tall and deep in the redzone to stop Crenshaw on a fourth and goal play.
A few plays later, Flores found himself being sacked in the endzone and fumbled the ball. Two bad results came from that play: Crenshaw’s Nygel Lewis recovered the fumble for their only touchdown of the game and Flores was knocked out the game with a lower leg injury.
The big-time players for this Carson team that stood out on offense was Minix had 147 all purpose yards and a touchdown. He also just picked up his first Division 1 scholarship offer from Nevada. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Manuopuava Tui-Enesi had a bunch of bone-crushing hits to go with his second half interception. Tui-Enesi kept meeting the Crenshaw running backs on their side of the line of scrimmage with some strong play.
This young Crenshaw team will be back in mix next year with only 12 players graduating off this squad. They made few plays tonight just not enough against this stingy Carson defense. Carson will now travel to No.1 seed San Pedro for a semifinal rematch of last game of season. San Pedro won that game, 17-15, over Carson. That game vaulted San Pedro to the No. 1 seed, while Carson dropped to fourth.