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Making a Pass Toward No. 1, Finally : Long Wait Was Worth It for Servite’s Quarterback

Times Staff Writer

With football players at Servite High School, you can usually be sure of at least two things.

Firstly, they’ll be as polite as choir boys, lacing their speech with “Yes, sir,’ and “No, sir.” Secondly, they’ll be very sure of themselves and of what they’re doing.

So it is with quarterback Tim Rosenkranz, he with pleasant demeanor and the confidence of a river-boat gambler holding four aces.

Rosenkranz will look you in the eye and tell you what’s on his mind, especially when asked if he’s having fun this year under the pressure of leading Orange County’s No. 1-ranked prep team.

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“This year, everything has been going great for me,” he said. “During my freshman and sophomore years, football got old. You’re not on top of the county and there’s nothing in the papers. And last year as a junior I was backup to Eric (Buechele). This is the year.”

As usually happens at Servite, most skill positions are held by upperclassmen because of the program’s abundance of talent.

That means that talented players such as Rosenkranz often have to sit and wait until their senior years, even though they might readily start at another school as juniors.

“You can’t really complain, though, because you are at Servite,” Rosenkranz said. “I played in four games as a junior and threw three touchdown passes, but mostly I was learning under Buechele. Even (Notre Dame quarterback Steve) Beuerlein didn’t start as a junior.”

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Rosenkranz learned well as an understudy. Largely because of his play, the Friars are 8-0 overall and 3-0 in the Angelus League going into tonight’ game at Bishop Amat (8-0).

Rosenkranz has completed 88 of 163 passes for 1,812 yards, 18 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions.

Nonetheless, Rosenkranz may be the county’s least recognized quality quarterback.

Servite Coach Leo Hand said that this seems to be the year of the quarterback, what with Scott Stark at Capistrano Valley, Shane Foley of Newport Harbor and Todd French of Canyon, among others, setting passing records almost every week.

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So, where does Rosenkranz rank among the prep luminaries? How about first. In this week’s ranking of county quarterbacks by The Times, which uses the same formula that the NCAA does for passing efficiently, Rosenkranz tops the list with a rating of 177.5.

Mike Angelovic of Edison is second at 167.8 and Stark is third at 166.5.

So, even though players such as Stark and Foley are grabbing most of the headlines this season, there is no shortage of expert opinion as to Rosenkranz’s ability.

Said Mater Dei Coach Chuck Gallo: “He’s very mobile. He can turn a bad play into a good play.

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“Overall, he’s a very fine quarterback and in my opinion is better than last year’s quarterback, Buechele, who could throw deep with anybody in high school but wasn’t always consistent in the short-passing game.

“Rosenkranz is consistent in all areas--deep, short, whatever. He throws well when the game is on the line. He stands up under attack real well.”

Part of the reason that the 6-foot, 170-pound senior has had such success is his style--Rosenkranz likes to hang on to the football until the last possible moment, giving his receivers the utmost time to get free.

“Rosenkranz gets hit on almost every pass he throws because he waits so long (to deliver),” said Bob Walker, offensive coach. “He’s tough, though. He always gets up off the ground. He has no fear.”

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Rosenkranz’s style has served the Friars well, and against some pretty good competition. Servite has beaten Colton, Marina, Damien, Fountain Valley and La Quinta, respectable teams all, by a combined score of 132-45.

And last week, the Friars beat St. Paul, 35-33, on a 36-yard pass play from Rosenkranz to Jeff Fieldhouse with 33 seconds left.

And after facing Bishop Amat tonight, the Friars face traditional rival Mater Dei Thursday.

Rosenkranz credits his development as a player to several people.

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“I wear my father’s number (10) because he wore that when he was at Cal High (in Whittier) in 1959-60,” he said. “Then, my freshman year, our coach, Larry Toner, helped make me a football player. And our coaches this year, Bob Walker and Dan Faley, helped make me a quarterback.”

Although Rosenkranz said he would like to play college football, his plans are uncertain.

And as far as the lack of attention well, Rosenkranz says he doesn’t mind. He will take the unbeaten record any day.

“We don’t go and have pep rallies or anything,” he said. “Big hype isn’t our deal. We just go out and get the job done.”

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