SOUTHERN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS : Division I : Brown Gets Record, but Fountain Valley Gets Victory : Servite Star Sets Rushing Mark in Loss to Barons
It was the kind of game that people are going to remember for a long time, even though some will most certainly wish they could forget.
Derek Brown, Servite High School’s extraordinary running back, set the Orange County single-season rushing record and celebrated by pacing the length of a soccer goal at one end of Santa Ana Stadium, disconsolate and holding back tears.
Asked what he thought about what had just witnessed, Fountain Valley Coach Mike Milner stammered: “I’m speechless.”
Fountain Valley beat Servite, 10-7, Friday in the semifinals of the Division I playoffs. Fountain Valley will play Bishop Amat, which upset top-seeded Loyola, 16-0, in the Division I final Friday at Anaheim Stadium.
Two big-time offenses and two big-time players--Servite’s Brown and Fountain Valley quarterback David Henigan--came into the game only to be overshadowed by one player’s sore throat, another’s right leg and a shower of yellow flags.
Servite played without its exceptional linebacker and fullback Garrett Greedy, who was out with mononucleosis. It also had two touchdowns called back by penalties.
The game was captured in Servite’s last drive, which ended when quarterback Chris Johnson was intercepted by Rick Mock with 30 seconds to go in the game.
Brown got Servite on the board in the first quarter with a 54-yard run. Fountain Valley answered with just 33 seconds left in the first half when Henigan hit tight end Eric Sassenberg with a 8-yard scoring pass.
Fountain Valley’s Derek Mahoney gave his team a 10-7 lead midway through the third quarter with a 51-yard field goal, his longest kick of the year.
“The way our defense was playing, I knew it could be the difference,” Mahoney said. “I just didn’t want to let anyone down.”
Servite started on its 38 with 3:30 left in the game. Brown got the ball on first down and ran 12 yards to the 26. Brown rushed for 16 yards on his next 3 carries to give Servite a first and goal at the 10. Quarterback Chris Johnson went 4 yards to get to the 6.
With 1:03 left, Brown went around left end for an apparent 6-yard touchdown, but the play was called back on a holding call.
Brown scored on a 30-yard run on the same play early in the second quarter, only to have that one called back by a holding call.
“I just don’t understand that,” said Jerry Person, Servite coach. “The official tells me before the game that, ‘This is the semifinals and we’re going to let the kids decide the ballgame.’ And then we get those calls. I just don’t understand.”
Pushed back to the Fountain Valley 15, Johnson attempted to roll out only to be grabbed by Fountain Valley’s Jeff Higbee. Still standing, Johnson attempted to throw a pass, but as Higbee jerked him back, Johnson inadvertently lateraled the ball. Servite’s Steven Bishop pounced on the ball on the Fountain Valley 32.
Still in possible field goal range for kicker Greg Dovidio, Servite had a third and 32. Johnson handed off to Brown, who handed off to receiver Oscar Ford, who pitched back to Johnson, but Johnson couldn’t find a receiver and forced the ball in the middle of the Fountain Valley coverage where the ball was picked off by Mock.
The series exemplified how Fountain Valley, as Milner put it, “bent but didn’t break.” Milner had said he expected Brown to have a big game and he did, 186 yards in 24 carries to set the Orange County single-season record at 2,301 yards.
But after that he would break only one more big run, a 37-yarder in the third quarter.
“We knew he would get his yards,” Milner said. “We bent but we didn’t break. The bottom line is we won the game. He could break the universe record and I wouldn’t care as long as we won.”
ORANGE COUNTY CAREER RUSHING
Player Yrs Yds 1 Ray Pallares 83-85 5,398 Valencia 2 Derek Brown 86-88 4,663 Servite 3 Robert Lee 85-87 4,401 Santa Ana 4 Myron White 72-74 4,164 Santa Ana Valley 5 Ross Bauer 84-86 3,764 El Modena
ORANGE COUNTY CAREER PASSING
Player Yrs Yds 1 Todd Marinovich 84-87 9,165 Mater Dei, Capistrano Valley 2 Bret Johnson 85-87 6,538 El Toro 3 David Henigan 86-88 5,835 Fountain Valley 4 Shane Foley 84-85 5,264 Newport Harbor 5 Burt Call 81-83 4,956 Capistrano Valley