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PREP EXTRA / SATURDAY FOOTBALL PULLOUT

Without Williams, Irvine Is No Match for Servite

September 20, 1997|PAUL McLEOD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Irvine had the best kept-secret in the county until Friday night.

With standout running back Al Williams watching from the sideline on crutches, Irvine was held to 44 yards rushing against No. 8 Servite and lost, 17-0.

Williams limped into the stadium just as the game began. A long towel hanging from the hip pocket of his even-longer shorts barely covered the brace on his injured knee. He said he hurt the knee in practice Tuesday and that he will be out a minimum of three weeks.

Servite never let the Vaqueros get within its 27-yard line, and that came in the final moments of the game after a Friar fumble. Irvine's leading rusher was Terence Felix, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior, who carried eight times for 37 yards.

Meanwhile, Vince Reed was a workhorse for Servite, carrying 24 times for 81 yards.

And in the battle to become the No. 1 Friar signal caller, backup junior quarterback Dan Petropolus went the distance, completing 10 of 14 passes for 112 yards, including a bullet of a toss from eight-yards out to flanker Matt DeLellis with four minutes 26 seconds left in the third quarter that staked Servite to a two-touchdown advantage.

Irvine quarterback Andrew Howard tried to do what he could to rally the troops. He passed for 70 yards, punted five times for an average of 35 yards, had two kick returns for 30 yards and even caught a pass for 24 yards on a trick play just before halftime.

But the real story was Williams, who Irvine Coach Terry Henigan has called "the best skill kid we've had here." Williams opened the season last week by rushing for 212 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-29 come-from-behind victory over cross-town rival University.

"I really was hoping I was going to be able to play," Williams said.

Servite Coach Larry Toner said he had looked forward to his team playing against one of the county's top running backs. "It's really, really unfortunate," Toner said. "Any time I play cards against you and you don't show up with your best effort, it's no game. He comes to the game crippled and the competitive level [goes down]. They had nothing they could do."

Servite, which gave up 147 yards on the ground in a 7-6 loss to Esperanza last week, had little trouble repelling the wounded Vaqueros. Howard was sacked three times and Felix had to leave the game in the fourth quarter because of leg cramps. Irvine managed just one first down in the entire second half as Servite slowly pulled away.

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