The local newspapers in Colton this week said that Colton High's George Hemingway ran like the hammer of Thor.
But compared to Crespi's Russell White in the Big Five Conference quarterfinal game Friday night, Hemingway ran more like the gavel of Judge Wapner.
White out-gained Hemingway, 147 yards to 91, and led Crespi to a 25-8 victory before about 7,000 fans at Colton.
It was a game and match-up White was looking forward to--for one reason. "Just the word Colton, man," White said. "You beat Colton, you've got a chance to go all the way."
Crespi (11-1) will have that chance against Eisenhower, a 14-7 winner over Bishop Amat, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Crespi plays Eisenhower next Friday at Birmingham High in a semifinal game.
A win would enable the Celts, ranked No. 2 in The Times Valley poll and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs, to advance to the Big Five championship game at Anaheim Stadium. The last time Crespi went to the final was 1973, when it lost, 21-7, to Los Altos.
The Celts can thank, at least in part, White for their success.
Sure, White has out-gained just about everyone this season, but Hemingway was different. He entered the game as the state's leading rusher with 2,117 yards.
White gained his 147 yards on 17 carries and scored two impressive touchdowns to lead the Celts to a 22-8 halftime lead.
With 5:30 left in the first half, White took a pitch from quarterback Rob O'Byrne and headed for the left corner of the end zone, where Colton defensive back Shannon Flakes was waiting for him. White hurdled the upright Flakes into the end zone for a touchdown.
O'Byrne hit a wide-open Jon Budge near the same corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 14-8 Crespi lead.
White's next run nearly defied description. One play after a Hemingway fumble gave the ball to the Celts at the Colton 39 yard-line, White took a pitch and headed left. When he was cut off at the Crespi sideline, he reversed his field. There was no opening there, either, so he cut up the middle, broke a few tackles and hurdled over two fallen players on his way to a 35-yard scoring run.
"He's an impressive runner," Crespi linebacker Sean Howard said. "You can never say Russell White is down."
Crespi Coach Bill Redell, who acknowledged Hemingway's impressive style, said he'll stick with his sophomore tailback, who was featured in Sports Illustrated this week and was the subject of an ESPN television feature to be aired early next month.
"Trade Russell for Hemingway?" Redell said. "No way. Hemingway is a good back, but I wouldn't trade Russell for three Hemingways."
While White, who now holds school records with 1,948 yards and 26 touchdowns, was still running strong at the end of the game (he had a 42-yard touchdown run called back in the fourth period), Hemingway already had written his ticket for the bench.
"It was like he didn't even want it," Colton Coach Robin Luken said of his 6-3, 236-pound senior. "He just wasn't running like the George Hemingway of the last 11 games."
And what did Luken think of White?
"He's awesome," he said. "What can you say?"
After the game, while players exchanged hand shakes, Hemingway was nowhere to be seen, just as was in the fourth quarter when he carried only three times for six yards.
Crespi was busy all week preparing to stop Hemingway. For a while, it looked as though the preparation could have been better.
On the Yellowjackets' first possession, Hemingway carried nine times for 40 yards. He also threw a 25-yard halfback pass to Ray Aldama to prolong what turned out to be a 12-play, 69-yard drive ended by Hemingway's one-yard touchdown run.
Hemingway, who gained his 91 yards on 22 carries, added a two-point conversion run for an 8-0 lead.
Crespi linebacker John Carpenter said that the impressive drive put together by Hemingway and Colton (8-4) didn't leave him too concerned.
"We just needed to see what their offense looked like," he said. "But it did get a little hairy there for a while."
Redell had different thoughts.
"I was very concerned," he said.