Funny thing about a football rivalry between two high schools in the same city. The games generally are close, low scoring and somehow go down to the final seconds before the outcome is decided.
Woodbridge and University played it just that way Friday night in front of a standing room only crowd of 3,500 at Irvine High. At stake were bragging rights to Irvine's Culver Drive, where both schools are located, and something called the Fence Post Trophy.
Woodbridge can't claim the trophy until the end of the season, but officials might as well give the Warriors the key to the city after they held on for a 10-8 victory.
Woodbridge's third consecutive win wasn't ensured until its quarterback, Eric Brougher, gained a half a yard on a vital fourth down and inches play with 1:10 remaining.
University (1-2) was trailing, 10-0, with 4:50 remaining when it suddenly came to life. The Trojans drove 73 yards for their only touchdown and then converted a two-point conversion pass.
Woodbridge did its best to help its neighbor. The Warriors were guilty of a personal foul for a late hit, a pass interference infraction and an illegal substitution that kept the drive going.
University returned the favor after scoring when kicker Jeff Burger didn't come close on an attempt for an onside kick and Woodbridge gained possession of the ball at University's 43-yard line with 3:01 left to play.
Still, it took the short sneak by Brougher to keep the clock running and clinch the win for Woodbridge. Afterwards, Warrior Coach Gene Noji looked more like a losing coach than the man who had just conquered the city.
"Those three penalties certainly weren't by design," Noji said. "I'm not really sure why we break down sometimes. Our offense looked good in the first half, but then we struggled in the second half."
The Warriors opened a 7-0 lead in the first quarter behind the rushing of fullback David Townsend, but then needed two defensive efforts to keep University from scoring in the second quarter.
Robert Riley gave the Trojans excellent field position with a 22-yard punt return that put University in business at Woodbridge's 27-yard line. The Trojans moved to Woodbridge's three-yard line, but four plays produced only two yards and the Warriors took over.
The Trojans were driving once more on their next possession, but tailback Craig Belle fumbled at the Warrior 14-yard line to end the threat.
"I was real disappointed in the fact that our offense didn't kick it in (score) on those two opportunities," said Mark Cunningham, University coach. "I thought about a field goal with fourth down on their one, but I thought it was important to score a touchdown."
The game featured Belle and Townsend, two of the county's top backs. Townsend led all rushers with 104 yards in 23 carries. Belle gained 73 yards in 16 carries, but had two costly fumbles.