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Desperate Leuzinger Kicker Boots St. Genevieve Out of Playoffs, 16-14

December 07, 1985|DAVE DESMOND | Times Staff Writer

It was only 23 yards, a chip shot.

To Leuzinger High kicker Julian Catano, however, it could have been 75 yards. It didn't matter. The way he was kicking the ball, the odds were more in favor of his field-goal attempt landing somewhere in the 10 row of the sideline seats than between the uprights.

Odds sometimes lie.

His 23-yarder with 1:18 left in the Desert-Mountain Conference semifinals lifted the Olympians to a 16-14 victory over St. Genevieve at Leuzinger.

Leuzinger will meet Pioneer League rival Harvard next week in the conference final.

For Catano, it was a last chance for redemption. He missed a 31-yard attempt in the first half that would have given Leuzinger a 10-7 advantage.

In the third quarter, he missed an extra-point try wide to the right. It left the Olympians (11-1-1) one point short, 14-13. It looked as if that might be the difference.

"If I had missed that last one," Catano said, "it would have been on my mind for the rest of my life. When I missed that field goal in the first half, I thought it was going to be the end of the world. On the last one, I just tried to forget about everything else and concentrate on the ball."

Leuzinger Coach Steve Carnes' memory wasn't that short, however. Catano's early failures were in the front of his mind.

"Believe me," he said, "there were a lot of question marks in my head. I'm just thankful he made it. It was our only chance."

The Olympians' final drive appeared to have stalled when they were faced with a fourth-and-nine situation on their own 35-yard line. Leuzinger punted the ball back to St. Genevieve, but the Valiants were called for having 12 men on the field, giving the Olympians the ball at midfield.

The Valiants had one last chance and drove to their own 47 but quarterback Andy Sherman was intercepted by defensive back Jose Martinez with six seconds left.

St. Genevieve (10-3) took a 14-7 lead with 8:30 remaining in the third quarter when Sherman called his own number and scored on a one-yard sneak. It was his second touchdown of the game.

Leuzinger scored on its next drive when quarterback Mike Reddington scored from three yards out. Catano missed the extra point, however, and St. Genevieve held a one-point advantage.

The Valiants scored on their first possession of the game, marching 77 yards on 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead.

Sherman scored on a one-yard plunge to cap the drive. He kept the drive alive five plays earlier when St. Genevieve was faced with a third-and-nine at the Leuzinger 47-yard line. He connected with receiver David Nickels for a 39-yard pass play to give the Valiants a first down at the Olympians' eight.

Leuzinger came back to score on its first possession when Reddington hit receiver Sean Smith with a 28-yard scoring pass. It was the 12th time this season Reddington and Smith had connected for a touchdown.

Sherman, who had passed for 565 yards and five touchdowns in the Valiants' two playoff victories, completed only 6 of 19 passes for 85 yards. He was sacked four times for minus-29 yards. The Valiants had only 59 yards rushing and 144 total yards.

Leuzinger had 279 total yards, 81 coming on eight rushes by fullback David Sweet.

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