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Valley / Ventura County Sports

Notre Dame Gets Defensive, 31-14

Football: Saugus running back Stoddard is limited to 50 yards as Knights improve to 3-0.

September 26, 1998|EDWARD M. YOON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

VALENCIA — Notre Dame football Coach Kevin Rooney challenged his defense to stop Saugus running back Sean Stoddard, the leading rusher in the Foothill League, before Friday night's nonleague matchup.

The Knights' defense responded during a 31-14 victory over the Centurions at College of the Canyons.

Led by linebackers Pat Wade and Travis Johnson, Notre Dame limited Stoddard to 50 yards on 10 carries, including a 36-yard run on the game's final play.

In his first two games, Stoddard rushed for 333 yards on 44 carries.

"[Stoddard] is an awfully good player and we wanted to be able to do the things we need to do to stop a good running back," Rooney said. "We had a lot of good defensive players out there tonight."

Notre Dame (3-0) held Saugus to 158 yards and had 353 yards. Overshadowing Stoddard was Knight junior running back Darin Barton, who rushed for 104 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.

"He's got a lot of ability and we hope to keep working him more and more, and getting him more and more involved in the offense," Rooney said.

The Centurions (0-3), plagued by slow starts in losses to Rio Mesa and Simi Valley, fumbled the opening kickoff. Chad Garrett was met by a host of defenders and lost the football, which was recovered by Notre Dame's Seth Oseransky on the Saugus 18-yard line.

Three plays later, Barton scored on a 10-yard touchdown run to give Notre Dame the lead 59 seconds into the game.

Christian Thomsen converted the kick to make it 7-0.

Notre Dame scored touchdowns in the second quarter on an 18-yard run up the middle by senior fullback Shaun Hall and a five-yard pass from Oseransky to wideout Todd Fenton with 16 seconds left in the half.

Saugus' Matthew Kopp fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and Notre Dame's Jamin Mauro promptly recovered the ball on the Saugus 23-yard line with nine seconds left before halftime.

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