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Defensive Plays Put Notre Dame in the Semifinals

November 25, 2000|ADAM HOLT

Notre Dame High forced two key turnovers and made a first-half lead hold up for a 24-14 victory over Peninsula in a Southern Section Division III quarterfinal Friday night at North Torrance High.

Linebacker Pete King returned a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Knights a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, and lineman Abraham Artuz recovered a fumble at the Notre Dame 12 to stop a Peninsula drive in the fourth quarter.

Peninsula (9-3) out-gained Notre Dame, 256 yards to 221, but the Knights (11-0-1) produced two crucial touchdown drives.

Quarterback Phil Beckmann engineered an 11-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Miguel Armendariz's four-yard touchdown run to give Notre Dame a 17-7 lead with 48 seconds left in the first half.

On the Knights' first possession of the third quarter, they drove 46 yards in eight plays and scored on a six-yard pass from Beckmann to Michael Luderer for a 24-7 lead.

Peninsula, which lost starting quarterback Eric Meissner to a knee injury on the opening kickoff, pulled within 24-14 on a four-yard touchdown run by Chris Beal late in the third quarter, capping an 80-yard drive.

The Panthers drove 68 yards to the Notre Dame 12 in the fourth quarter before the Knights called a timeout. On the next play, fullback Jeff Lulejian fumbled and Artuz recovered with 10:12 to play.

Notre Dame followed with a time-consuming drive to midfield before punting deep into Peninsula territory.

"[The fumble] was a huge momentum shift," Knight Coach Kevin Rooney said. "Our defense was getting tired."

Beckmann completed eight of 14 passes for 59 yards. Armendariz gained 59 yards in 13 carries.

Beal, who is being recruited by several Division I colleges, gained 105 yards in 26 carries.

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