Carter, Green Connect for Crenshaw
Crenshaw High’s football team was supposed to be rebuilding.
The Cougars lost 30 players--including every starter on defense--from last year’s team that had its season end on a last-second, 42-yard field goal by Fremont in the first round of the playoffs.
But Crenshaw showed Friday that it will be a force in this year’s race for the City Section title by shutting out Manual Arts, 14-0, in a nonconference game at Crenshaw.
Junior quarterback Keenan Carter and junior wide receiver Markus Green hooked up on a pair of almost identical 12-yard touchdown-pass plays that gave Crenshaw all it would need against the Toilers.
“I think we’re the team to beat because we’re stronger, we’re bigger and we’re faster this year,” said Carter, who completed eight of 18 passes for 114 yards. “We’ve done a lot of hard work to get ready for the season and that paid off today.”
Crenshaw limited Manual Arts to 56 yards passing and 103 yards rushing--with 54 of the rushing yards coming on a run by Matt Spencer on a fake punt.
“They did a good job stopping what we were trying to do,” said Manual Arts running back Thunder Collins, who gained 22 yards in 12 carries. “Their defense never let up.”
Manual Arts also played tough defense, but was twice victimized by Carter and Green, who connected on the same “20 Fade” play for touchdowns.
Crenshaw began its first scoring drive on its own 47 with 2:07 left in the first quarter. It began inauspiciously with Carter being sacked for a 12-yard loss. On the next play, however, Carter came back with a swing pass to the left side that Trevaughn Gory turned into a 20-yard gain. Carter then found Stephon Cannon over the middle for 18 yards. Two plays later, Green shook off a bump at the line of scrimmage, streaked down the left sideline toward the the goal line and leaped into the air to snag Carter’s pass in the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
After a scoreless second quarter, Crenshaw took the second half kickoff and marched 60 yards in 16 plays for its second touchdown.
The Cougars were aided by a pass interference penalty against Manual Arts on a third-and-22 from the Toilers’ 42, and Carter rushed for a big first down on fourth-and-three from the 27. He came up big again on fourth-and-eight from the 12 when he tossed his second touchdown pass to Green.
“Their defensive back was shorter than me, so I knew I had him,” said Green, who finished with four receptions for 48 yards in his first varsity game. “All I had to do was jump and catch the ball.”
Manual Arts’ best opportunity to score came early in the fourth quarter when the Toilers lined up to punt at their own 24. Spencer took a short snap, broke through the line and sped down the right sideline for an apparent touchdown. The Toilers, however, were called for clipping at the Crenshaw 22. The drive ended when Collins was stopped on a sweep on a fourth and five from the 15.
Crenshaw Coach Robert Garrett was happy with his young team’s start.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Now we’ve got something to build on.”