SHERMAN OAKS — It's hard not to underestimate Notre Dame High's Shaun Kaye, a 5-foot-6, 160-pound senior linebacker.
His size intimidates no one, but his relentless play Friday night was a crucial factor in the top-ranked Knights' 30-14 victory over Crespi.
"Way to go Rudy!" Kaye's father joked afterward.
Kaye recovered two of Crespi's five lost fumbles, recorded a sack and proved again that size doesn't mean anything in high school football.
"Even if I'm the shortest guy on the team, I'm going to give it 110%," he said. "Even if a guy's 6-4, 220 pounds, I'm going to hit him. If they think just because I'm short they're going to stop me, they're going to get burned."
Kaye is the starting fullback and the lead blocker for Notre Dame tailback Justin Fargas, but an injury to Julien Maurel forced him into extensive action at outside linebacker.
"We were flying to the ball," Kaye said. "Once somebody wraps them up, the others try to get the ball loose. I just happened to be at the right spot."
Fargas buster: Crespi defensive tackle Eric Nelson won't forget his tackle late in the second quarter. He dropped Fargas for a rare three-yard loss. It was the only time in the game Fargas was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.
Fargas was held to his lowest rushing total of the season--175 yards in 27 carries
"They did a great job swarming us," Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said in praise of Crespi's defense.
Lots of dreaming: Crespi defensive coordinator Rich Fong was repeatedly asked if he had trouble sleeping this week trying to figure out ways to stop Fargas.
"I sleep like a baby," he said. "And I wake up screaming every two hours."
Still trying: UCLA coach Bob Toledo was at Friday's game, still hoping that Fargas will consider the Bruins when making a college choice.
Playing like a veteran: Crespi junior linebacker Joell Garcia is already calling the defensive signals and starring for the Celts even though it's his first year of high school football.
He transferred from Poly last spring. He played Pop Warner football as a sophomore rather than play for the Parrots.
"He's been stellar for us," Crespi Coach Tim Lins said.
Sophomore standout: Notre Dame sophomore defensive tackle Travis Johnson had three sacks.
Punting machine: Notre Dame's Juan Plascencia contributed punts of 52 and 66 yards.