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Penalties Force Notre Dame to Settle for Tie, 0-0

October 07, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Penalty flags were anything but back-pocket hankies.

In the eyes of Notre Dame High, they were touchdown-stealing blankets that snuffed out the limited firepower of the Knights' offense in a 0-0 nonleague tie with Damien on Friday night at Notre Dame.

Twice the Knights ran for touchdowns of 48 yards or more. Twice they were called back because of penalties, raising the Knights' level of frustration as the chance for victory slipped away.

The defense prevented a loss, intercepting a pass at its seven-yard line with 37.2 seconds left.

"Obviously, if we didn't get those two touchdowns called back, we would have won the game," said Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney. "It feels like a loss."

The first transgression came a minute into the second quarter, when a holding penalty wiped out a 50-yard option keeper for a touchdown by Phil Beckmann.

The second touchdown-killing penalty came with 10:48 left to play on a fumblerooski, a play that rarely finds its way into the conservative Notre Dame playbook.

Guard Tim Volk scored from 48 yards, but the Knights were called for clipping.

The Knights (4-0-1), ranked No. 1 in Southern Section Division III, never came close to scoring again.

If not for a last-minute interception by Jim Sharp, Damien (1-3-1) could have lined up for a field-goal attempt.

Damien carved up the Knightson its final drive, using running plays to move from its 23 to the Notre Dame 12 in a little more than three minutes. But Jordan Swaydan's pass was tipped by linebacker Pete King and snared by Sharp.

Kevin Clark rushed for 116 yards in 18 carries against Notre Dame, which had been allowing 137.3 yards a game.

Sharp had six catches for 44 yards for the Knights, who totaled 201 yards.

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