Quarterback Tim Rosenkranz paced a second half outburst that lifted Servite High School to a 29-12 win over Colton Friday night in front of 4,000 fans in Colton.
Rosenkranz passed for 178 yards in the second half as the Friars overcame a 12-9 deficit to win its season opener. Rosenkranz completed 13 of 23 passes for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Colton, a run-oriented team that features a full-house backfield, gained 184 yards rushing. Colton completed only one pass for three yards. It looks as if Servite will again be winning games with an excellent defense, anchored by linebackers Brett and Ted Valmassei and free safety Jim Sanford.
Servite intercepted three passes, two of them leading to scores. Servite also limited a good Colton team to just 12 points. Last year Servite's defense allowed an average of 8.8 points per game.
The Friars scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and both touchdowns were scored by fullback Brian Booker on short runs. It was an impressive victory for Orange County's second-ranked team and combined with Edison's loss should put the Friars atop the poll.
"We wore them down in the second half," Friar Coach Leo Hand said. "They gave us a scare, but they ran out of gas. I also think we put an end to the idea that we may not have a quarterback."
Rosenkranz, who is equally adept at scrambling, was impressive in his varsity debut. He was the backup to Angelus League MVP, Eric Buechele, last year, passing for only 53 yards in cameo appearances.
He started slowly against Colton, completing only 4-of-9 pass attempts for 49 yards in the first half, but Servite had a 9-6 lead thanks to two turnovers. But Rosenkranz was on a roll in the second half as Servite dominated play.
"I was a little shaky in the first half," Rosenkranz said. "They had the ball most of the half, and we didn't have time to do anything.
"I took a few good pops in the first half, but the line gave me great protection in the second half. We sat in the locker room at halftime and thought about what we were doing wrong. I thought we came out in the second half with a better attitude."
Servite totaled 354 yards with 218 yards coming in the second half. Rosenkranz completed passes to five different receivers as running back Sal Sirna caught 4 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown and wide receiver Nick-John Haiduc caught 3 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown.
"My biggest concern going into the game was our offensive line," Hand said. "I was pleased with the play of our line giving up only two sacks against a very physical team. Colton is a much better team than last year."
The Yellowjackets may be better than last year's team that was shut out by Servite, 36-0, but they certainly aren't any bigger. Colton suited up only 27 players against Servite and its best player, junior fullback-linebacker George Hemingway, was noticeably tired in the second half.
"They had a few more bodies (75 to 27) than us," Colton Coach Robin Luken said. "I thought a couple of big catches by Servite's receivers cost us. We lost to a quality team, but I think our kids showed a lot."
Hemingway, a rugged, 6-foot, 2-inch, 190-pounder, was particularly impressive. He gained 114 yards in 18 carries and scored a touchdown. The Yellowjackets scored their other touchdown on their only pass completion of the game, a three-yard halfback option pass from Ronnie Garcia to Socorro Hernandez.