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PREP FOOTBALL / Southern Section Playoffs

Woodbridge Keeps Another Opponent Scoreless


In the final minutes of Woodbridge's 44-0 victory over Katella in a Southern Section Division VI playoff game Friday at Irvine High, linebacker Rael Berkowitz explained why the Warriors' defense is so unyielding.

"FTB is our motto--fly to the ball," Berkowitz said. "We play relentlessly. We never give up."

At that moment, as if to punctuate the point, the Warrior reserves were forcing and recovering a Katella fumble.

"It's just a complete team effort," said Berkowitz, a defensive captain. "Everyone who subs in plays unbelievably. No matter who we put in it's going to happen."

So for the second consecutive playoff game, the top-seeded Warriors shut out their opponent--they beat Saddleback, 37-0, in the first round--moving another step closer to reaching their goal of four playoff shutouts.

Servite is the next challenge. The Friars, who beat Villa Park, 22-14, in another second-round game, will host Woodbridge in a semifinal next Saturday.

Like last week, when Woodbridge led only 9-0 at the half, the Warriors took their time to get rolling Friday. They scored on their first possession--a 70-yard drive finished by a one-yard run by fullback Eric Jensen--but didn't score again on offense until their final possession of the half--a three-yard pass from Scott Barlow to tight end Zach Foster that finished a 54-yard drive.

Fortunately for the Warriors, the defense had already stepped in--scoring on a 51-yard interception return by Shane Harris with 5 minutes 12 seconds left in the second quarter--so the halftime lead was 21-0.

That defense also made sure Katella (8-3-1) never got it going.

Running back Francis Johnson, who averaged 115 yards in the first 11 games, was thoroughly stymied. He gained 43 yards in 17 carries in the first half, then was pushed backward in the second, rushing five times for a net minus-4 yards.

Katella gained only 66 yards total offense in the game, minus-1 in the third quarter.

The Warriors blew it open with three touchdowns in 3 1/2 minutes during the third quarter. Harris ran for a 75-yard touchdown. Brandon Runk ran in from 11 yards and Barlow hit Oren Masserman on a 47-yard pass play to make it 42-0.

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