Servite Awakens, Rips Taft
A siren sounds to mark the end of the quarter at Taft High, a sound that suggests something frightful is about to happen.
For Taft, the scare came in the third quarter.
After battling heavily favored Servite to a scoreless tie at the half, Servite roared back with 21 third-quarter points and blew out Taft, 35-7, in an intersectional game Friday at Taft.
“That was a helluva first half by us,” Taft Coach Tom Stevenson said , “but that was a helluva third quarter by them.”
Servite tailback Derek Brown, held to a sub-par 58 yards in the first half, rumbled for 109 in the third quarter alone and finished with 185 yards in 22 carries. He scored on runs of 1 and 4 yards to lead the third-quarter barrage.
The difference in Servite’s level of intensity was immediately discernible.
“That was a big, big difference,” Brown said . “I guess we underestimated them. I put it together--rather, we put it together--in the second half. They knocked me down, but not out.”
Servite gained 171 yards in the first half but couldn’t find the end zone. In the second half, however, Taft went down and was counted out in a matter of seconds.
Behind Brown, Servite took the second-half kickoff and moved 70 yards in 5 plays. The impressive drive included runs of 36 and 14 yards by Brown, who gave Servite a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run with 10:07 left in the quarter.
Taft quarterback Rich Cosentino, who was chased all over the field by the Servite defense and completed only 5 of 22 passes for 69 yards, had a pass intercepted by Brad Williams at the Taft 36. Six plays later, Brown scored from 4 yards to give the Friars (3-0) a 14-0 lead.
Cosentino again connected with a Servite defensive back on his next throw, and this time, it blew the game wide open. Attempting to find a receiver in the right flat, the ball was intercepted by Oscar Ford, who cruised 36 yards down the sideline for a 21-0 lead with 5:07 left in the quarter.
“We made some adjustments and went to the weak side in the second half,” Servite Coach Jerry Person said. “Derek started to run and the line started to block, and that was it.”
The Friars scored 21 points in five minutes, but they weren’t finished by any means. Servite scored again moments into the fourth quarter, this time on a 4-yard bootleg by quarterback Chris Johnson, who rushed for 53 yards in 8 carries.
By the time Taft fullback Greg Bernard scored on a 9-yard blast up the middle with 10:48 remaining, it was all over.
Servite held Taft tailback Kelvin Byrd to 88 hard-fought yards in 21 carries. Byrd rushed for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns in Taft’s season opener last week.
Neither team was able to break loose in the first half, although Servite moved the ball effectively behind Johnson, who rushed for 31 yards and passed for 81.
Servite threatened twice, but the kicking game couldn’t deliver. The Friars drove to the Taft 34 early in the second quarter, but Greg Dovidio’s 51-yard kick was blocked by Taft’s Hushum Dunbar. Dovdio later missed a 32-yard attempt with three seconds left in the half.