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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS : Buena Gets Thrown for 37-12 Loss by Notre Dame

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Notre Dame High opened defense of its Southern Section Division III championship with a 37-12 rout of Buena on Friday night at Notre Dame.

The Knights (11-0), who will play Westlake in the second round, came out throwing. Ryan Bowne threw three touchdown passes to lead Notre Dame to a 30-6 halftime advantage.

Bowne, who completed 10 of 17 passes for 212 yards, connected with Tripp Nassour on scoring-pass plays of 40 and nine yards, and hit Troy Garner with a two-yard touchdown pass.

Bowne, Notre Dame’s career passing leader, also had a 26-yard touchdown pass to Garner nullified by a penalty. Bowne’s passing total was a season high.

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“We started out going 50-50, but we ended up throwing more,” Bowne said.

“We know people are going to come after us. In the playoffs, you play for your lives every week.”

Notre Dame’s defense sacked Buena quarterback Glenn Dudley five times for 43 yards in losses. Notre Dame gained 348 yards to 283 for Buena (5-5-1).

About the only part of the Bulldogs’ attack that Notre Dame was unable to stop was tailback Josh Cross, who rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries. Most of Cross’ significant gains came on draw plays that repeatedly fooled the Knights’ defense.

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“The draw was something they hadn’t run very much,” Notre Dame Coach Kevin Rooney said.

Notre Dame, Mission League champion and the division’s top-seeded team, took a 2-0 lead when a bad snap sailed over Dudley’s head and out of the end zone for a safety.

Following a punt, Bowne drove the Knights 53 yards in three plays, completing a 14-yard swing pass to Alvan Arzu before connecting with Nassour for a 40-yard score that gave Notre Dame a 9-0 lead.

Buena countered with a 72-yard scoring drive in which Dudley completed a six-yard pass from punt formation.

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Cross capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run to pull the Bulldogs to within 9-6.

Bowne, however, regained the momentum for Notre Dame by connecting with Garner for completions of 38 and 11 yards on the Knights’ ensuing drive. Fullback Justin Fargas carried the final yard for a touchdown to give Notre Dame a 16-6 lead.

“They out-athleted us at the wideouts,” Buena Coach Rick Scott said. “And we knew their quarterback was accurate. We tried to go get him a couple of times, but they’re a good football team.”

The best in Division III?

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“I think we are confident,” said Rooney, whose team defeated Ayala in last year’s championship game to earn the Knights their first Southern Section football title. “But it’s a very tough division. It might be tougher than last year.”

Garner had four receptions for 78 yards and Nassour caught three for 82.

Nick Kounalis had two catches for 38 yards, and Arzu, who rushed for 35 in nine carries, had one reception for 14 yards.


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