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Notre Dame Passes Test

Division I: Oseransky hits Fenton for 29-yard touchdown with nine seconds left to beat Wilson, 34-27.

November 21, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

SHERMAN OAKS — It might be a security clearance code. Or a UPC symbol on the bottom of a box of cereal.

But in reality, "928 R Dig" is a play that will be remembered for a long time at Notre Dame High.

Todd Fenton scored on the play with nine seconds remaining Friday night to give Notre Dame a 34-27 victory over Long Beach Wilson in a first-round game of the Southern Section Division I playoffs at Notre Dame.

With Notre Dame trailing, 27-26, Fenton caught a short slant pass over the middle from Seth Oseransky and turned it up the right sideline for a 29-yard touchdown.

"When I came out of the huddle, I just wanted to get a first down and get in field-goal range," said Fenton, who broke two school records in the game.

"When I saw I was open, I went for the score."

The Knights (10-1) held a comfortable 26-7 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Maybe it was too comfortable.

Wilson (6-5) rallied for three touchdowns, taking a one-point lead with 1:22 left to play on a seven-yard run by Omar Issa.

But the Knights, on the strength of a 39-yard run by Shaun Hall, moved to the Wilson 29, where they faced third and seven when Fenton's number was called.

Fenton finished with seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

He also set school single-season records with 54 receptions and 859 yards receiving.

In the process, he kept alive the notion Notre Dame can play Division I football.

"First, they said we weren't going to make it during the regular season," Fenton said. "Then they said we wouldn't make it through the [Del Rey League]. Then in playoffs. But we're going to surprise some people."

Notre Dame proved it could play Division I football two weeks ago with a 17-14 victory over Loyola. The week before that, the Knights made a furious comeback against Bishop Amat before losing, 28-21.

They play another Division I power, third-seeded Mater Dei, in a quarterfinal Friday night at a site to be determined.

Notre Dame appeared to have secured the final blow against Wilson on a four-yard run by Travis Johnson with 2:20 left in the third quarter that gave the Knights a 19-point edge.

Wilson came back on Victor Becerra's 45-yard return of a fumble by Oseransky.

The Knights played without defensive end Alec Moss, who was out with a sprained shoulder, and lost running back Chris Leon to an ankle sprain in the first quarter.

Hall finished with 137 yards in 10 carries for Notre Dame.

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