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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

Notre Dame Makes Point

Linebacker Moss doesn't let high-powered Alemany offense roll against Notre Dame, forces two fumbles by Clausen in final minutes.

October 03, 1998|ERIC SONDHEIMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

MISSION HILLS — It was a game of perseverance, toughness and survival.

With the Alemany High stands filled to capacity and hundreds more watching from a roped-off end zone, inspired defensive players from Notre Dame and Alemany unleashed devastating hits that jarred balls loose and made offensive players dizzy.

In the end, Notre Dame (4-0) was able to pull out a 14-13 victory only because of a defense that refused to break.

"We just had to scratch for every inch," said defensive end Alec Moss of Notre Dame. "The hitting was the hardest we've seen. We took it and tried to give it back."

No one made bigger defensive plays than Moss, whose athleticism is well-known from his play as a catcher on the baseball team.

Twice in the final 13 minutes he stripped the ball from quarterback Casey Clausen of Alemany, with Jose Salas recovering each fumble.

Alemany (3-1) suffered turnovers on its final three possessions, the last Clausen's fumble with 1:57 left on the Notre Dame 36.

There were defensive plays galore.

Todd Fenton intercepted Clausen's pass with 3:46 left on the Notre Dame 46. Three other times Fenton dropped potential interceptions.

"I hated myself every time I dropped an interception," Fenton said. "I saw the opportunity, knew the game was on the line and grabbed it.'

Safety Daniel Browne of Notre Dame stopped another Alemany scoring threat at the end of the first half when he tackled Clausen one yard short of a first down on the Notre Dame five-yard line.

Alemany gave back plenty. Defensive back Bryson Atkins made two interceptions. Defensive back Derek Goodman twice made open-field tackles to drop Notre Dame ballcarriers. Defensive end Ricardo Garcia sacked quarterback Seth Oseransky three times.

Notre Dame players were in awe of Alemany's team speed, particularly the Scott brothers. There was no strategy for stop Deon and De'Andre Scott when they reached the open field.

Deon scored on an 85-yard touchdown pass play from Clausen and De'Andre ran 92 yards for a touchdown.

But in the crucial moments, when Notre Dame desperately needed a big defensive play, Moss came through.

"He's been doing that every week," Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said. "He's forced a fumble or recovered a fumble. There was a lot of great hits on both sides."

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Alemany was seeking its first victory over Notre Dame since it beat the Knights, 20-0, in 1991. That was the only season this decade that the Indians have had a winning record.

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De'Andre Scott, a sophomore, finished with 137 yards in nine carries.

"I think he has a great combination of quickness and tackle-breaking ability, and when he's in the open, he breaks away from people," Rooney said.

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