Culver City looks like the team of destiny.
No one expected the Centaurs to make it past top-seeded Gardena Serra in the first round, let alone make it to Friday night's Western Division championship game at Arroyo Grande.
The team's three representatives were all smiles Monday morning at the CIF-Southern Section championships luncheon in Long Beach. But don't think they're happy just to have made it this far.
"We've taken that underdog role through this playoff run," senior receiver Alex Jackson said. "We're the Cinderella team."
The dance began with a complex waltz against local giant Serra. Culver City (10-3) came away with the surprise of the playoffs.
"It was a big win for us," senior captain Kevin Porche said. "Serra had been there many times before but we played hard."
Then, after a second-round blowout of Santa Maria Righetti, the Centaurs drew Ocean League rival Santa Monica, which had taken league and beaten Culver City 17-14 in November.
"We wanted the revenge," said senior quarterback Lukas O'Connor, who has passed for 3,002 yards and 32 touchdowns. "They beat us on our senior night and we wanted to beat them to get to the championship."
Said Jackson: "It was good that Santa Monica got the Ocean League title, but it was bigger for us to get to the divisional championship."
Now the Centaurs, making their first title game appearance in 33 years, travel up the coast to face Arroyo Grande (12-1), which aims to avenge last year's championship loss to Serra.
And if everything goes right, you can bet they'll dance on the bus ride back to Culver City.
All 170 miles.
Blair Angulo covers preps for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.