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Long Beach Poly, Crespi reach final

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

December 01, 2007|Eric Sondheimer | Times Staff Writer

The play call was 26 Hammer. Encino Crespi running back E.J. Woods took the handoff from quarterback Bryan Bennett, charged ahead from the two-yard line, leaped over the back of 305-pound right guard Julian Fields and landed in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown in overtime on a rainy Friday night at the Home Depot Center.

The Celts' 13-10 victory over Anaheim Servite in a Pac-5 Division semifinal couldn't have produced a more dramatic ending.

"When I scored, I just knew we were going to the championship," Woods said after teammates charged onto the field to celebrate. "I had the worst butterflies I've had in my life."

Crespi, which won its only major-division title in 1986 with running back Russell White, will play Long Beach Poly in the final.

Servite (9-3) got the ball first at the 25-yard line after a 7-7 tie in regulation. Facing third and five from the nine, quarterback Johnny McEntee tried to run around right end on a naked bootleg. The only player left was cornerback Lonnel Jones, who made the defensive play of the game by tackling McEntee for no gain. The Friars settled for Nick Echeverry's 27-yard field goal to go ahead, 10-7.

Crespi (11-2) took over on the 25 and moved the ball to the two-yard line with a series of runs by Austin Shanks and Woods. It was third and goal, and with brute strength and power required, the Celts turned to the UCLA-bound Woods and the massive Fields.

"The play was dive right," Fields said. "We just had to execute, and we did."

It brought to an end a defensive struggle in which both teams were stubborn and insistent about not leaving the field without a victory.

The first half belonged to Crespi, the second half to Servite. Crespi outgained the Friars, 151 yards to 32, in the first half and had 10 first downs to Servite's one. But the only touchdown was Shanks' one-yard plunge with 2:22 left in the second quarter.

Long Beach Poly 2, Orange Lutheran 0 -- A goal-line stand by Poly in the second quarter in which Lutheran failed to score on four consecutive running plays from the one-yard line helped the top-seeded Jackrabbits (12-1) win their Pac-5 Division semifinal game and earn a shot at their 17th Southern Section championship.

The game's only points came on a safety on Lutheran's opening possession when a bad punt snap sailed over James Rammelsberg's head into the end zone. He picked up the loose ball and ran out of the end zone for a Poly safety.

Another goal-line stand by Poly with 17 seconds left in the game won it when Herman Davidson recovered a fumbled exchange on the three-yard line. Poly then ran out the clock.

Lutheran (10-2) lost starting quarterback Blake Hyepock to an ankle injury at the outset of the second quarter, hampering its offense.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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