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FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

Westlake Converts Its Chance

September 26, 2003|Peter Yoon; Eric Stephens Dan Arritt | From Staff Reports

At first, the Newhall Hart offense had to travel 99 yards to prevent a winless start to the season, then its defense had to keep Westlake Village Westlake from going three yards.

The offense did what it needed to when Sean Norton connected with Kevin Ciccone on a 99-yard touchdown pass to give Hart a seven-point lead Thursday night at College of the Canyons. The defense, however, couldn't stop a 75-yard Westlake touchdown drive or the ensuing two-point conversion with 41 seconds left, and Westlake defeated Hart, 25-24.

The two-point conversion, a pass from Westlake quarterback Rudy Carpenter to Tahj Mowry, left Hart with its third consecutive loss to start the season. Hart, a seven-time Southern Section champion ranked No. 8 by The Times, has not started 0-3 since 1985.

"It's hard to fathom 0-3," Hart Coach Mike Herrington said. "But we knew it could happen."

Hart has played one of the toughest nonleague schedules in California. The Indians have lost to No. 1 Los Alamitos, No. 7 Ventura St. Bonaventure and No. 6 Westlake by a total of 11 points.

After Hart's 99-yard touchdown, the longest scoring pass in school history, gave the Indians a 24-17 lead, Westlake got the ball at its 25-yard line with 4:44 to play. Carpenter completed four of six passes for 66 yards on the drive, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Michael Stuart. Westlake Coach Jim Benkert had little doubt about going for the win.

"The only question was what were we going to run," Benkert said. "We're not gonna battle like we did to get a tie."

Carpenter completed 15 of 30 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Stuart caught 11 of those passes for 183 yards and both touchdowns. Mowry had 99 yards and a touchdown in 19 carries.

Norton completed 15 of 34 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown.

-- Peter Yoon

Manhattan Beach Mira Costa 17, Wilmington Banning 7 -- Tyler Pringle was a force on both sides of the ball as he led the Mustangs (3-0) to victory at Mira Costa.

Pringle rushed for a game-high 170 yards in 26 carries and scored a touchdown in winning the individual battle with running back Patrick Perry of Banning (2-1). He also led the Mustang defense with nine solo tackles and seven assists in controlling the highly touted senior.

"He's been the heart and soul of the team," Mira Costa Coach Don Morrow said. "He's been the leader all along."

Perry never broke a big run and finished with 75 yards in 20 carries. He began the game with 593 yards and seven touchdowns. In the fourth quarter, he lost a critical fumble, which the Mustangs' Brian Jackson recovered.

-- Eric Stephens

Mission Viejo Tesoro 25, Irvine 22 -- The host Titans lost five starters to injury and a 19-point lead, but that didn't prevent them from rallying for the biggest victory in their program's two-year history.

Tesoro (3-0) scored the go-ahead touchdown with 6:19 remaining in the game on a six-yard touchdown pass from Nick Nelson to tight end Erik Hamren.

Irvine moved the ball to midfield on Jamaal Villa's 20-yard punt return with four seconds remaining and set up for a 65-yard field goal, but Mike Edwards couldn't handle the snap and was tackled to end the game.

"It's a huge step for us," said Tesoro Coach Jim O'Connell, who has just six senior starters.

-- Dan Arritt

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