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Murphy's First Taste of Overtime Is Sweet

September 30, 1997|STEVE KRESAL

Gene Murphy has been coaching college football long enough--32 years--to have seen it all. But he experienced something new last Saturday, thanks to a rule change made last season.

Murphy coached in his first overtime game, guiding Fullerton to a 21-19 upset of Pasadena at Occidental College.

But it wasn't until the coaches were looking at tape of the game Sunday that Murphy realized the true value of the victory.

After a frantic final five minutes of regulation, during which the Hornets erased a 13-point deficit, and an overtime that turned on a blocked extra point attempt, the Fullerton players had staged a raucous celebrate.

"It was fun," Murphy said. "and it was nice to see so many guys so happy. After all, they're your guys. Good, bad or indifferent, you recruited them."

Murphy also witnessed something much bigger.

"They should never forget this one," he said. "It was really a life lesson. If you keep playing hard, from snap to whistle, something good will happen."

Pasadena got the ball first in overtime and scored to take a 19-13 lead, but Fullerton linebacker Donnie Gunritz blocked the extra point try and lineman Chuck Pine got the ball and raced 80 yards for two points. Gunritz also blocked a point after try and field-goal attempt in regulation.

When it was Fullerton's turn in overtime, quarterback Geoff Berg scored from one yard out on second down for the victory.

Fullerton was led by Lazell Kitchen, who had 102 yards in 11 carries. He had a run of 42 yards, which is Fullerton's longest play from scrimmage this season.

Berg threw the key pass to set up Fullerton's trying touchdown in regulation.

On third and 20, Berg completed a 28-yarder to Nick Armstrong, who was tackled at the one. Berg then threw a scoring pass to Paul Wise with 28 seconds left to play.

Berg had been battling with Terry Hess for the starting job but got it when Hess left the team last week. Hess has yet to return any messages left by Murphy.

"Berg's a good athlete," Murphy said. "He's a good wide receiver and a free safety. We're just trying to find a way to win with what he can do."

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