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THE HIGH SCHOOLS / STEVE HENSON

Taft Has Trouble Recovering

November 20, 1994|STEVE HENSON

Garfield players went after the ball the way Garfield the cat goes after a plate of lasagna.

Taft players reacted like frightened kittens.

The Toreadors barely held on for a 34-27 first-round City Section 3-A playoff victory Friday night after Garfield twice recovered onside kicks in the fourth quarter. One led to a touchdown and after recovering a second time, the Bulldogs moved to Taft's eight-yard line before time ran out.

"We saw the film against San Fernando and they don't seem to have the courage to step up and grab the ball," Garfield Coach John Aguirre said.

Against San Fernando two weeks ago, Taft failed to recover two consecutive onside kicks in the fourth quarter and had to sweat out a 35-28 victory.

Taft practiced Saturday, the team's first weekend workout this season. The onside recovery unit, called "the hands team," worked overtime.

With the rest of its game clicking, Taft has a good chance to beat powerful Dorsey on Wednesday. As long as "the hands" don't turn into paws again.

*

Footnotes: With three field goals in Notre Dame's 22-17 victory over Santa Barbara, Chris Sailer tied the single-season state record of 16. Sailer has seven field goals in the past two weeks.

Ignacio Brache, the Village Christian kicker who tied the record a week ago, did not attempt a field goal in his team's 19-7 first-round loss to Ontario Christian. Brache, a senior, finished his career with 32 field goals, one short of the state record.

"It was frustrating not to kick but it was more frustrating watching our team not score many points," he said.

Brache did get off a career-long 70-yard punt in the game and finished the season with a 40.1-yard average.

Sailer, a former club soccer teammate of Brache, has been the better punter, but until recently Brache had a leg up on field goals.

Brache's longest was 60 yards and he hit one of 67 yards in pregame warm-ups Friday night. Three times in his career he sent kickoffs over the crossbar, a distance of 70 yards.

Sailer might have three games remaining. Certainly, his presence enhances the Knights' chances.

"It's so great having Chris," said Don Ebenhoch, Notre Dame's fullback-linebacker. "With his punting, teams don't get good field position, and with his kicking, we get something positive out of almost every drive."

*

Twelve minutes of fame: In the wildest, most-dramatic quarter played in the region, a 5-9, 155-pound junior named Colin Butterfield became the savior for Saugus.

The Centurions withstood three touchdowns by Pasadena in the fourth quarter by scoring two of their own and held on to win, 35-32. Butterfield had a hand in the three biggest plays.

After Pasadena scored to pull to pull within 28-26, Butterfield batted down a pass on a two-point conversion attempt to preserve Saugus' lead.

"The quarterback was scrambling, so I released my man and read his eyes," said Butterfield, a defensive back. "He threw toward the middle and I knocked it down."

Pasadena took a 32-28 lead but Saugus took the kickoff and drove to the Bulldogs' eight-yard line. Butterfield took a handoff on a counter play, cut behind a block by tackle Beau Cherry and raced into the end zone to give Saugus a 35-32 lead with a minute to play.

"I didn't even get touched," Butterfield said. "We ran that play a bunch of times and got about 10 yards every time."

Pasadena drove to midfield and tried a hitch-and-go pass. Butterfield didn't bite on the hitch and made a clinching interception.

"I picked up the quarterback's audible signals and knew they were going to try that," he said. "The quarterback overthrew him and I caught it over my head."

*

First-round tips of the helmet go to. . . .

* Newbury Park for playing like a defending Southern Section champion and going for a two-point conversion with under a minute left and Rowland leading, 21-20. The pass fell incomplete, but the Panthers left the field with their heads held high and a 6-5 record in a rebuilding year following their 14-0 mark last season.

* Buena Coach Rick Scott for being quasi-diplomatic in the face of a 36-28 loss to Diamond Bar. Said Scott: "I'm not blaming the officials for the loss, but I'm blaming them for ruining my night."

* Quartz Hill for keeping its cool during a 33-9 upset of Muir while Mustang players were being ejected for fighting.

* Jeff Diamond, whose four-touchdown performance against Muir made him the most precious gem in Quartz Hill.

* Birmingham for responding to news of the impending retirement of their coach, Chick Epstein, by knocking off No. 1-seeded Reseda in the City 3- A playoffs.

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