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Bishop Amat, Brown (295 Yards) Rush Past San Clemente, 31-21

TIMES STAFF WRITER

San Clemente knew that in order to defeat La Puente Bishop Amat Friday night, the Tritons would have to slow down Lancer running back Ralph Brown II.

It was a nice try.

In one of the best individual playoff performances in Bishop Amat history, Brown rushed for 295 yards and four touchdowns in 27 carries to lead the Lancers to a 31-21 victory over San Clemente in a Southern Section Division I first-round game in La Puente.

“Going into the game, we knew that he had a lot of speed to get to the outside,” San Clemente linebacker Chad Swain said. “But he decided to take it inside against us.”

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In his first season playing varsity running back, Brown has carried the Lancers all season, and against San Clemente, it was no different. After he fumbled on his third carry of the game to lead to the Tritons’ first score of the game, Brown responded with touchdown runs of 22, 65, 68 and 59 yards.

“I was just trying to gain four yards on every carry and let the big runs just come,” said Brown, who also played defensive back against the Tritons’ no-huddle spread-passing offense. “They did a good job on me for most of the game, but their defensive line started to get tired as the game wore on.”

After Brown’s early fumble, San Clemente took a 7-0 lead on a nine-play, 45-yard drive that was capped by a two-yard run by Ryan Davis. Bishop Amat answered early in the second quarter when Brown broke free on a 22-yard scoring run to tie the game, 7-7, at halftime.

The Tritons took a 14-7 lead on their first drive of the third quarter when Jason Hyland scored on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Chris Bodeu. San Clemente’s lead did not last long, as Brown raced 64 yards for his second touchdown two minutes later to tie the game.

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Bishop Amat’s defense then turned the game in its favor when linebacker Daniel Bravo returned an interception to the Tritons’ 20-yard line, which set up a 36-yard field goal by Santiago Vasquez to give the Lancers a 17-14 lead.

From there, Brown really took over when he scored on a 68-yard run to begin the fourth quarter to stretch Bishop Amat’s lead to 24-14. San Clemente came right back with a quick 80-yard drive that was capped by a seven-yard touchdown pass from Bodeu to Trevor Insley.

On Bishop Amat’s next possession Brown put the game out of reach with a 59-yard run with less than seven minutes remaining.

Bodeu, who completed 25 of 41 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns, rallied the Tritons on two drives into Bishop Amat territory but fell short.

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Brown joins Bishop Amat’s long line of great backs, which really dates to the 1980s with Pernell Taylor and Arnold Fields. Since then, the Lancers have produced Eric Bienemy, Mazio Royster, Scott Fields, Daylon McCutcheon and now Brown, who has 1,658 yards and 18 touchdowns this season.

Bishop Amat is now 9-1-1. San Clemente, which finished tied for first in the South Coast League, finished the season 8-3.


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