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Crespi holds off Notre Dame, 28-26

Celts block a field-goal try and a punt, leading to two touchdowns, and break up a potential game-winning pass with less than a minute to play to win the teams' Serra League opener.

October 14, 2011|By Baxter Holmes

Encino Crespi's Tyler Foreman saw the opposing wide receiver break on a slant toward the end zone.

The pass, thrown on fourth down from about 10 yards away with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter, was right on target, headed straight for Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Sam Robinson.

A sold-out stadium, more than 5,000 fans who had been through ups and downs of a thrilling back-and-forth game Friday night, held its breath.

A catch and Notre Dame would re-take the lead. Anything else and Crespi would likely hold on for a win in the teams' Serra League opener.

Foreman met Robinson just as the ball arrived, helping knock it incomplete and sealing Crespi's 28-26 homecoming victory.

"I just had to go break it up," Foreman said after making the biggest play in a game full of them.

Crespi (6-1, 1-0), The Times' No. 18-ranked team, staved off Notre Dame (5-2, 0-1), The Times' No. 25 team, which was seeking to avenge a heartbreaking loss to Crespi last season that kept the Knights out of the playoffs.

"Crespi is a great team, but mistakes killed us," said Notre Dame defensive back Kevin Carrasco.

Notre Dame scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 lead in the second quarter. But Crespi blocked a field-goal attempt and Noah Ciccel ran it back 40 yards for a touchdown at the halftime gun.

The Celts blocked another Notre Dame kick in the third quarter, this one a punt from the Knights' 25-yard line. That set up a touchdown a few plays later to give Crespi a 21-17 lead.

"I think the special teams was the turning point of the whole game," Crespi Coach Jon Mack said. "I'm really proud of our kids."

Notre Dame jumped back on top with a long interception return for a touchdown, but Crespi took it back after Cody Cordell threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Chris Harper with 7 minutes 5 seconds to play in the fourth.

The Knights tried to engineer a game-winning drive at the end, but Foreman wouldn't let it happen.

Notre Dame quarterback Kelly Hilinski completed 15 of 28 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Cordell was 13 for 23 for 130 yards with two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns by Notre Dame defenders.

Long Beach Poly 38, Lakewood 21: Nicholas Pope threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Richard Smith in the second quarter to move the No. 9 Jackrabbits into the lead for good as they cemented their status as Moore League title favorites with a victory over their longtime rival.

Chaiyse Hales scored on a one-yard run in the second half and Poly teammate Jaylen Massengill recovered a blocked Lakewood punt in the end zone as the Jackrabbits (6-1, 3-0) overcame early turnovers and penalties to pull away in the final 24 minutes. Hayden Hunt kicked a 47-yard field goal for Poly.

Jaleel Wadood scored the game's first touchdown on a 64-yard fumble return for Lakewood (5-2, 2-1).

Poly has won 18 of the last 19 Moore League titles.

—Austin Knoblauch

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