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Notre Dame Widens Chasm With Downtrodden Crespi

Mission League: Knights defeat Celts for the seventh consecutive time, 41-12.


ENCINO — It was a scene that helped explain the fortunes of two football programs going in opposite directions.

Jim Sharp and Michael Luderer lined up to shake hands and exchange hugs with former Crespi High teammates Friday night at the conclusion of Notre Dame's 41-12 victory.

Sharp and Luderer were examples of how the balance of power had changed between the schools.

As sophomores, they were two of Crespi's brightest young prospects. As seniors, they are critical players in helping Notre Dame (9-0-1) finish as Mission League champions.

Crespi went 0-10, its worst record in school history.

As early as next week, Coach Ron Gueringer could learn if he'll be invited back after a two-year mark of 1-19.

Sharp returned the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown. Luderer caught six passes for 83 yards and twice batted down balls at cornerback.

To say that Crespi would be a different team if Sharp and Luderer had stayed is an understatement.

"I do feel sorry for them," Sharp said of his former teammates. "I'm glad I left, but I wish the best for Crespi and hope they can get back to the way they used to be."

The Celts can take satisfaction in becoming the only team to score more than one touchdown against Notre Dame.

Junior Will Jacoby, a former quarterback, caught touchdown passes of 37 and 12 yards from sophomore Garrett Feig.

Jacoby, whose father attended Notre Dame, looks like the kind of receiver who could offer hope for Crespi's future.

"He's good," Luderer said.

Crespi is filled with sophomores and juniors, and that was the Celts' problem.

Gueringer inherited a no-win situation and was forced to play mostly inexperienced players who were outmatched at the varsity level.

It will be up to Principal David Doyle to decide Gueringer's fate.

"They haven't told me anything one way or another," he said. "I would like to be back. I think I've done a lot to hold things together."

But much has changed since Crespi became the only Valley team to win a Division I championship in 1986. The Celts' rivalry with Notre Dame isn't really a rivalry anymore.

Notre Dame won its seventh consecutive game in the series.

Quarterback Phil Beckmann completed 12 of 21 passes for 160 yards and returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown.

Sean Gilmore recorded two sacks and kicker Ryan Allen made two field goals, leaving him eight for eight on field goals this season.

Brian Magcalas scored two touchdowns.

Notre Dame locked up the No. 1 seeding for the Southern Section Division III playoffs.

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