Orange County Prep Saturday : Disputed Interception Leaves Esperanza a 10-7 Loser

October 10, 1987|STEVE LOWERY | Times Staff Writer

Bishop Amat High School's 10-7 nonleague victory over Esperanza at Bradford Stadium, a game that owed so much to penalty flags, ended Friday night on a play that officials decided not to throw one.

With time running out in the game, Esperanza had the ball on its 40-yard line. Quarterback Jason Moler threw a pass intended for Doug Saunders, but Saunders and defensive back Loren Cannon bumped at the Bishop Amat 20. When Saunders fell, Cannon turned and intercepted the pass.

The Lancers simply let the last four seconds tick off the clock and walked away with the game.

Gary Meek, Esperanza coach, did not go so quietly.

He angrily shouted at game officials for not calling what he thought was pass interference. An interference call would have given Esperanza (3-2) a chance at a game-tying field goal.

Penalties and turnovers were the story of the game, a game that Bishop Amat (5-0) dominated statistically, but one the Lancers had to score 10 points in the fourth quarter to win.

Esperanza led, 7-3, with 6:45 left in the game. Bishop Amat started its game-winning touchdown drive at its 41.

Running back Mazio Royster, who rushed for 181 yards in 31 carries, ran on three successive plays to get the ball to the Esperanza 43.

On the third play, the Aztecs were called for a personal foul, a 15-yard penalty that put the ball on their 28. Three plays later, Royster ran 17 yards for a touchdown. Steve Clark's conversion kick put the Lancers ahead, 10-7, with 4:12 left in the game.

Bishop Amat had scored earlier in the quarter when Clark kicked a 24-yard field goal. The field goal was made possible when Esperanza running back Craig O'Connor fumbled on the Aztec 27.

Esperanza scored its only touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter when Rick Pressel, a defensive end used as a ballcarrier on short yardage plays, dived in from a yard out. Kevin Leon's kick made the score, 7-0, with 4:19 left in the first half.

The Aztec touchdown had been set up when Moler intercepted a pass and returned it 39 yards to the Esperanza 49. A personal foul was called on Bishop Amat, moving the ball to the Lancer 36. Six plays later, the Aztecs scored.

Until that time, the Esperanza offense had gone absolutely nowhere. On eight plays in the first quarter, the Aztecs "gained" a minus-five yards.

Meanwhile, Bishop Amat was gaining a ton of yards but had nothing to show for it. The Lancers drove from their 24 to the Esperanza 6, but had successive holding and clipping penalties move them back to the 25-yard line. Clark attempted a 42-yard field goal that failed.

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