Servite High School may be ranked No. 1 when the Orange County Sportswriters' Assn. poll comes out Tuesday, but the Friars did not look like a top-ranked team in beating La Quinta, 25-6, Saturday night in Bolsa Grande Stadium.
Although the win kept Servite unbeaten in five games, the Friars appeared flat on offense and struggled much of the time against La Quinta (3-2).
But the Friar defense, which held the Aztecs to minus 50 yards rushing, played an outstanding game. It limited La Quinta to just one touchdown and made life miserable for quarterback Derek Debbs, sacking him 9 times for minus 73 yards.
Servite's defense held the Aztecs to minus 33 yards in the first half as the Friars took a 6-0 advantage with 4:49 remaining in the half.
On a first-and-goal situation from the Aztec 9, quarterback Tim Rosenkranz carried around right end and was stopped at the 3. The ball was jarred loose before Rosenkranz was tackled, however, and running back Derek Noggle alertly picked up the ball and lunged across the goal line for a touchdown. Corey Wentz missed the conversion kick, and Servite led by six at the half.
The Friars drove 44 yards on 6 plays on their first possession of the second half for another score. Fullback Brian Booker bulled his way through from the 9 with 8:23 left in the quarter. The Friars' two-point conversion pass attempt failed, but they led by a 12-0 margin.
La Quinta cut the Friars' lead to 12-6 on the second play of the fourth quarter, a 76-yard pass play from Debbs to the versatile Bart Recktenwald. Recktenwald caught the pass along the far sideline near the 40 and outran the Friars' secondary the remaining 60 yards. The Aztecs, too, missed the conversion kick but trailed by just six points with 11:39 remaining.
Servite scored on the following possession as Booker capped a 77-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard run up the middle. Again, Wentz's kick was no good, but Servite had increased its lead to 18-6.
La Quinta could do nothing with the ball the next three times it had it as Debbs threw 10 straight incompletions and was sacked 3 times in the Aztecs' first 13 plays from scrimmage following its touchdown.
Debbs was 3 of 22 for 97 yards, with 76 yards coming on the scoring play to Recktenwald. Recktenwald caught all three passes and added 19 yards rushing on 5 carries, well below his 10-yards-per-carry average entering the game.
Servite added a touchdown with just one second left on a 5-yard pass from Rosenkranz to Nick-John Haiduc into the corner of the end zone. Finally, Wentz made good on the conversion kick to produce the 25-6 final.
Rosenkranz, who was sacked 9 times for minus-60 yards, completed 9 of 17 for 168 yards and 1 interception.