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Notre Dame Makes Point

Football: Knights show they know how to win without Fargas by beating Alemany, 14-13, in nonleague game.

October 03, 1998|MIKE BRESNAHAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

MISSION HILLS — Notre Dame High has lost All-American running back Justin Fargas to graduation but still has the ability to win the big game.

Notre Dame gave up plenty of big plays to Alemany and was steadily outgained, but managed to defeat the Indians, 14-13, in a nonleague football game Friday night at Alemany.

The Notre Dame defense, backed up inside its own territory on Alemany's final three possessions, forced three turnovers to preserve the victory.

"They got [the big plays] offensively, but we got them defensively," Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said.

Notre Dame (4-0), ranked No. 3 in the region by The Times, was outgained, 408-264.

On Alemany's first offensive play of the second half, De'Andre Scott took a pitch down the left sideline for a 92-yard touchdown that sliced the Notre Dame lead to 14-13. Garrett Marxen's extra-point kick was wide left.

"Didn't think it was a big deal at the time," Alemany Coach Jim Bonds said. "I thought we'd put more points on the scoreboard."

The Indians (3-1), ranked No. 4, had plenty of opportunities, passing the Notre Dame 40-yard line on their other three second-half possessions.

But quarterback Casey Clausen had a pass intercepted and fumbled twice after being hit.

"That's why the ball's oblong, I guess," Bonds said. "It just bounces that way. I feel bad for [Clausen]. He's going to take that home and it will stay with him for a while."

The teams are no longer Mission League rivals, with Notre Dame moving to the Del Rey League, but the tension began long before the game did.

"Got an air sickness bag?" an Alemany assistant coach asked a bystander more than an hour before kickoff.

Nerves hadn't played much of a role in the past six meetings, all won by Notre Dame, including the last two by a combined 62 points.

But after Alemany tied the score, 7-7, when Clausen hooked up with Deon Scott on an 85-yard pass play midway through the first quarter, it was evident this would be a close one.

Notre Dame took a 14-7 lead on an 85-yard drive that lasted 8:53. It featured two costly penalties by Alemany (late hit, pass interference) that helped Notre Dame out of second-and-17 and third-and-16 situations.

Alemany's ground game went nowhere in the first half, De'Andre Scott carrying only four times for 20 yards. His first carry came with 7:38 left in the second quarter.

Scott finished with 137 yards and a touchdown in nine carries.

"We've got to find a way to get the ball in his hands some more," Bonds said.

Without Fargas, who is at Michigan, Notre Dame showed signs of a consistent ground game for the first time this season.

Running back Darin Barton ran for 86 yards in 21 carries and Trevin Lund contributed 54 yards in five carries, including an 18-yarder on third-and-nine with 56 seconds left to seal the victory.

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