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ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PREP EXTRA

No. 4 Woodbridge Rallies, but Irvine Responds for Tie

Sea View: Vaqueros' Ignash kicks a 32-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining for a 17-17 final.

October 17, 1998|MARTIN HENDERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Woodbridge quarterback Scott Barlow, sacked on the last play of the game, walked alone toward his sideline, knowing full well the beating he took will be the status quo in the Sea View League.

"Obviously," he said, "I'm disappointed."

Not because fourth-ranked Woodbridge lost, but because it didn't win.

The Warriors, playing in front of an overflow crowd of about 5,500 against Irvine, rallied in the fourth quarter but couldn't hold on to a lead in the final seconds and tied the Vaqueros, 17-17.

"Defensively, both teams deserved to win," Woodbridge Coach Rick Gibson said. "And when teams had to score, they did."

For Irvine (4-1-1, 0-0-1 in league), that came the last time it touched the ball. The Vaqueros drove from their 29 to the Woodbridge 15, where David Ignash kicked a 32-yard field goal with 27 seconds remaining.

It salvaged the night for Irvine, which fell behind with 3 minutes 16 seconds remaining when Woodbridge's Steve Terwiske kicked a 26-yard field goal. Terwiske got his chance because Irvine quarterback Sean Van de Mergel (13 of 27, 138 yards, one touchdown, one interception) fumbled two plays into what they hoped would be the game-winning drive. Woodbridge started at the 18.

Both teams benefited from their defense. Woodbridge gained only 211 yards, Irvine 219.

Woodbridge (5-0-1, 0-0-1) drove 99 yards in the second quarter (after a nice play by Jeff Patty to down the punt at the one-yard line) for its first score. The 14-play drive ended with Barlow running in from eight yards. A high snap prevented the point-after.

A mishandled snap on a point-after prevented Irvine from taking the lead after Van de Mergel's 30-yard pass to Evan Little. The 57-yard drive came after Sam Paik's 29-yard kickoff return opened the third quarter.

Barlow (eight of 21 for 133 yards), who had thrown only one interception this season, was stung in the closing minutes of the third quarter. Irvine's Ray Kang "popped out of nowhere," Barlow said, and scored easily on the eight-yard interception return.

Chris Lee scored on a two-point conversion out of the fake kick, providing a 14-6 Irvine lead.

"I haven't seen every team in the league," Irvine Coach Terry Henigan said, "but from what I understand, there might be a lot of games like this. That's why we went for two [to win a league title]. But there comes a point when a tie is better than a loss."

Woodbridge went 55 yards in the fourth quarter, helped by 27 in penalties, with Barlow throwing 12 yards to Zach Foster for the score. Running back Shane Harris passed to Josh Coker on a busted play for the two-point conversion to tie, 14-14.

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