After Anaheim Servite had held off Mission Hills Alemany, 28-21, Saturday night in a Pac-5 Division semifinal game at Cerritos College, there was agreement by both sides that in defeat, Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams was simply marvelous.
"I think he's a darn good player," Servite Coach Troy Thomas said.
Adams rushed for 153 yards and completed 19 of 34 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns.
But Servite (13-0) made the big plays when it counted to earn a spot in next Saturday's Pac-5 final against Mission Viejo (13-0) at Angel Stadium. Jordan Jones had an interception and blocked a field-goal attempt to lead a defense that refuses to give up big plays.
And Alemany Coach Dean Herrington didn't hesitate to offer a prediction for next week.
"I think they're going to beat Mission Viejo by 17 points," he said.
It was Servite's 24th consecutive victory. Malik Felton rushed for 146 yards and scored one touchdown and quarterback Cody Pittman completed 13 of 15 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown. Connor Loftus got off punts of 68 and 72 yards that ended up on the Alemany one and two-yard lines.
A turning point came at the end of the second quarter. Alemany, trailing 14-7, was controlling the clock and the ball for much of the quarter, being patient and driving to the Servite 12. On the 16th play of the drive, Adams threw a perfect pass to a wide-open Zach Hernandez in the right corner of the end zone. Hernandez dropped the pass.
Then Martin Meza came in and attempted a 30-yard field goal. It was blocked by Jones. Three plays later, Felton broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown run, and the Friars led, 21-7, at halftime.
The lead reached 28-7 in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown reception by Ainslie Johnson.
Adams rallied the Warriors (12-1) in the fourth quarter, passing 13 yards to Jerico Richardson for a touchdown and 14 yards to Corey Sims for another score.
Alemany got the ball back with 20 seconds left on its own 20. But Adams was sacked by Jody Thomas, and the Warriors soon ran out of time.