The game had ended but five minutes earlier when the raucous chant began. It was led by an enthusiastic and highly motivated running back.
“Russell White,” Servite High senior tailback Derek Brown yelled as the team converged in a self-congratulatory huddle after last Friday’s 35-7 defeat of Taft. “Let’s go get Russell.”
For Brown, ranked by several publications as one of the best tailbacks in the West along with Crespi’s White and Channel Islands’ John Johnson, tonight’s 7:30 game against Crespi at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa marks a chance at revenge.
In a Southern Section Big Five Conference quarterfinal playoff game last November in Anaheim, the Celts defeated Servite, 45-38, in a thriller in which Brown and White combined for 467 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns.
This is Brown’s chance to prove a point.
“He’s a very good running back,” Brown said this week of White. “He’s the best I’ve seen in high school. I don’t underestimate him, but I think I’m better.”
Brown broke the Servite single-season rushing record in the Crespi game (1,483 yards) and is on a pace to break it again this season.
“It’s not a Servite record,” said Friar assistant Steve Fogel. “It’s his record.”
Brown (5-10, 175) has rushed for 575 yards in 56 carries (10.3 average) and has scored 7 touchdowns.
White, who is expected to be fully recovered from a sprained left ankle that has hampered him this season, has rushed for 338 yards in 48 carries and has scored 6 touchdowns for Crespi (2-1).
If he comes close to duplicating last season’s performance against the Friars (3-0), White could break or move to within an eyelash of several state and section marks. White has 68 career rushing touchdowns--five shy of the Southern Section record--and is 22 points shy of the section career points mark (474). White, who has scored 452 career points, needs 4 touchdowns and 25 points to break the state touchdown and scoring records.
Servite and Crespi are ranked Nos. 3 and 8, respectively, in the Southern Section Division I sportswriters’ poll.
BACK TO BACK: A STATISTICAL COMPARISON
Russell White Derek Brown Rushing yards as a sophomore 2,339 1,251 Rushing yards as a junior 2,280 1,424 Rushing yards this season 338 575 Rushing yards, head to head 251 216 Touchdowns, career 75 40 Touchdowns, this season 6 7