It was a game that Servite High School had to win to remain in contention for the Angelus League title, so the Friars called upon their championship player.
Tailback Derek Brown rushed for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Servite to a 34-28 victory over Bishop Amat Saturday night in front of 4,200 fans in Gahr’s Hanford Rants Stadium in Cerritos.
Brown scored on runs of 39, 11, 61 and 82 yards. The senior has 1,383 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns in 8 games. It took a remarkable performance by Brown to hand Bishop Amat only its second loss in its last 37 regular-season games dating back to 1984.
Servite (7-1 overall, 2-1 in league play) needed a win to remain in title contention with St. Paul (2-0), Mater Dei (1-1) and Bishop Amat (1-1) in the five-team Angelus League. Brown was well aware of the situation.
“This was one of my best games and certainly one of my most important,” he said. “I got a little more pumped up in the second half and I think they got a little tired.”
Brown gained 177 of his 246 yards in the second half when Servite overcame a 14-13 deficit. Brown’s 82-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes remaining gave Servite a 34-21 lead and sealed the Friars’ first victory over Bishop Amat in 5 years.
“I’ve coached some great running backs at Bishop Amat, and Derek Brown is the best back I have coached against,” said Mark Paredes, Bishop Amat coach. “Our goal was to stop him, and we didn’t come close. It was like a track meet out there.
“We scored 28 points, and that’s usually enough to win. But the bottom line is that we didn’t stop Brown.”
Brown got Servite off to a quick start with 2 touchdowns in the first quarter but had only 2 carries in the second quarter and, consequently, Servite lost its lead.
Bishop Amat (6-2, 1-1) took advantage of 2 turnovers to take a 14-13 advantage. Pat Sullivan intercepted a pass to set up a touchdown and Loren Cannon recovered an errant pitch to Brown to set up another score.
But Brown helped Servite retake the lead, 20-14, with a 61-yard run in the third quarter, and then safety Oscar Ford set up another touchdown with an interception that he returned 37 yards.
Bishop Amat managed only 60 yards rushing against Servite’s strong defensive front line, but quarterback Brian Harmon passed for 188 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Smith. Harmon also scored on a 1-yard keeper.
Afterwards, Jerry Person, Servite coach, was feeling better about his team’s chances of qualifying for the playoffs following a stunning 34-18 loss to St. Paul a week earlier. Person even hinted there’s still a chance of winning the league title.
“We now hold our fate in our own hands,” Person said. “A loss tonight and we’re looking at the possibility of a coin flip to make the playoffs. Now, we have a shot at the championship. I don’t think anyone will finish undefeated in this league.”
ORANGE COUNTY CAREER RUSHING
Player Yrs Yds 1 Ray Pallares 83-85 5,398 Valencia 2 Robert Lee 85-87 4,401 Santa Ana 3 Myron White 72-74 4,164 Santa Ana Valley 4 Derek Brown 86-88 3,957 Servite 5 Ross Bauer 84-86 3,764 El Modena