STORY BY MATT SIMON
With the sun blazing for a 5 p.m. start on Friday the Compton Tarbabes shook off a shaky start to roll past crosstown rival Compton Centennial 40-0 in the season opener.
“It’s our first game, so I knew we’d make some mistakes,” coach Calvin Bryant said. “We had a few players in new positions and doing a few different things. But our guys responded.”
The Tarbabes (1-0) took a 6-0 lead after senior Jai Smith capped a 9-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown with 1:09 remaining in the first quarter.
Smith’s day wasn’t done there as he intercepted an Apache pass and took it the distance to give the Tarbabes a 12-0 lead with 2:18 remaining in the first half.
On Centennial’s ensuing drive, junior Louis Williams picked off another Centennial pass to put the offense back on the field with 45 seconds remaining in the half.
Senior Jaheim Hunt and Keilan White made the most of the opportunity when they connected for a 39-yard touchdown to put Compton up 18-0 heading into halftime.
In the second half, the Tarbabes took complete control of the game when they blocked a punt for a touchdown to take a 26-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion attempt.
Smith then scored his second touchdown of the game with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter. The senior finished 14 carries for 76 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
As a team, Compton finished with 260 yards rushing and Hunt finished the game 7-for-11 for 111 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, the Tarbabes held Centennial to six yards of total offense.
The Tarbabes will be on the road again next week when they travel to face Santa Monica at Santa Monica College.