It was bound to happen. It was simply a matter of when and where.
The Foothill High School football team (1-2), which had lost only seven games out of more than 40 in the past four years, had been treated like a punching bag in both its games this season. That didn't suit Foothill's taste or tradition--after all, this school almost bears the name of its favorite sport.
Friday night in Westminster Stadium, the Knights recalled their usual form. Marina (1-2-1) was the team that happened to have the bad luck to be across the field at the time, so Foothill beat them, 14-0.
It was nothing personal. It was simple the Knights' time. It's a rare year when Foothill had to be patient through three games to record its first win.
Friday's performance was more like the Knights of old, rather than the strange fellows who recently dropped a pair of 27-6 games to Capistrano Valley and La Quinta. Foothill was so impatient to wipe that memory away that it settled the game early Friday and never really gave Marina much say in the matter.
On its first possession, Foothill ran into a fourth down with 11 to go at the Marina 23-yard line. Coach Ted Mullin called for a 40-yard field goal, but his team gave him something twice as valuable with a bit of inadvertent aid from Marina.
The kick by Knight soccer star Carrick Brewster was deflected. It plummeted to earth near the 7. What happened next was one of those bizarre events that everyone half-expects to be effectively erased by a whistle and a wave of the official's hand.
Afterward, Marina probably wished it were so. While the Viking defense was spectating at the scene of the failed field goal, Foothill's Keith Takabayashi had the presence of mind to smoothly scoop up the live football and run seven yards for a touchdown.
The rest of the game really belonged to the Knights' ferocious defense, which has not allowed a point in seven quarters. The defensive line--guards Brian Healy and Randy Laycock, plus tackles Brian Decoite and David Todd--limited Marina's running game to a total of 83 yards.
Meanwhile, linebacker Tom Quinn contributed to the frustrations of Viking quarterback Rick Vanderriet by intercepting two passes in the first half. Vanderriet, who is playing his position this season for the first time in tackle football, completed 1 of 7 passes for 39 yards in the first half.
Foothill held onto the ball in the second quarter for an 80-yard, 14-play drive, the biggest single chunk of which was a 20-yard pass from quarterback Chris Fergus to Takabayashi. John Fischbeck, who finished as the game's leading rusher with 29 carries for 106 yards, did the bulk of the legwork. The Knight's second touchdown came on a 17-yard pass from Fergus to Bill Medina with 1:33 left in the first half. Brewster's kick provided the eventual margin of victory.