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Valley / Ventura County Sports

Crespi Pulls It Out Just in Time

Football: Muller connects with Carden on 66-yard pass play and Celts beat Lancaster, 21-20.

September 26, 1998|MARK BORGOGNONI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

LANCASTER — Quarterback Robert Muller teamed with tight end Kevin Carden on a 66-yard scoring play with 1:47 to play, giving Crespi a 21-20 victory over Lancaster in a nonleague game Friday night in Lancaster.

Despite Muller's last-minute heroics that capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive, he fumbled a handoff with 40 seconds remaining to give the Eagles (2-1) one last chance at victory. But Robert LaPlante's 28-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide left with 38 seconds to play.

Muller, who kept the game-winning march alive with a two-yard sneak on fourth-and-one at the Crespi 19, had completed only three of 16 passes for 23 yards before the final drive.

"He did what he had to do when it mattered. Just a great job," Crespi Coach Tim Lins said of Muller, who was forced to pass because Lancaster shut off the Crespi (3-0) running attack.

Lancaster, looking to avenge a 14-0 loss to Crespi last season and to match its 1997 victory total, opened the scoring on Darsay Barnwell's 60-yard run on the second play of the game.

Crespi answered two minutes later when running back Ken Turner capped a six-play, 80-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run with 9:10 remaining in the first quarter.

The Celts took their first lead, 14-7, 26 seconds later when Muller plunged one yard for a touchdown. The score was set up by David Zimmerman, who moments earlier stripped the ball from running back Gary Lu at the Lancaster 23.

Lancaster pulled within 14-13 when quarterback Jason Jacobs dashed 48 yards on a broken play with 6:22 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles led, 18-14, at the half following a 37-yard field goal by LaPlante and a safety when Billy Mosley tackled Muller in the end zone.

Muller finished with 89 yards passing, completing four of 17 passes. The Celts were held to 51 yards rushing.

Barnwell finished with 87 yards in seven carries and Daniel Pagnella had 85 yards in 20 carries for the Eagles.

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