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High School Sports

Column: Bishop Amat defeats Alemany in thriller to bolster its Mission League title aspirations

Bishop Amat running back Damien Moore scores a touchdown against Alemany in the third quarter.
Bishop Amat running back Damien Moore scores a touchdown against Alemany in the third quarter.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

With his face filled with sweat and his body filled with adrenaline after scoring the game-winning two-point conversion with 53 seconds left and then making the game-saving tackle with less than 20 seconds left, Damien Moore of La Puente Bishop Amat looked like a true football warrior wandering the Mission Hills Bishop Alemany football field on Friday night.

“It hasn’t hit me yet,” the Cal-bound running back said about the aches and pains ready to hit him after carrying the ball 27 times for 170 yards and one touchdown in an exhausting 25-24 victory that put Bishop Amat (5-1, 1-0) in position to win the Mission League championship.

“To beat them is big.”

The drama in the fourth quarter appeared to favor Alemany (5-1, 0-1). The Warriors took a 24-17 lead with 5:52 left when JaShawn Todd scored on a short touchdown run out of the wildcat formation. The game was filled with penalties (both teams were assessed more than 100 yards).

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Bishop Amat tried to mount a final drive but soon faced a a second-and-29 situation from its own 25. Sophomore quarterback Tobin O’Dell kept his poise. The Lancers got two completions, plus a 15-yard personal foul penalty for a first down. With less than a minute left, AJ Souza made an acrobatic catch in the left corner of the end zone, stealing it away from an Alemany defender, for an 18-yard touchdown.

An illegal substitution penalty and offside penalty encouraged coach Steve Hagerty to go for the win down 24-23. Everyone in the stadium knew Moore would get the ball out of the power-I formation. And Moore went to his right and was able to place the ball over the goal line for the two-point conversion.

Alemany’s Damario Strong returned the ensuing kickoff to the Bishop Amat 18 with 41 seconds left. After two incompletions and a short run, the Indians face fourth-and-four at the 12. Coach Casey Clausen decided not to try the field goal. Running back Floyd Chalk was handed the ball. He ran left and Moore stopped him at the 10. Game over.

“He’s definitely a difference maker,” Hagerty said of Moore, who missed most of last season because of a knee injury.

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At 5 feet 11, 205 pounds, Moore can wear down a defense.

“He puts up a good fight,” linebacker Corey Neal said.

In defeat, quarterback Miller Moss of Alemany was 14 of 25 passing for 234 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Chalk rushed for 134 yards.

The game was tied at 10-10 at halftime. That’s when Moore said he was told, “You’re going to get the ball.”

All the frustration from having to stand on the sideline last season and not be able to help his teammates was gone late Friday night, replaced by the feelings of having gone above and beyond to deliver victory.

“It’s big,” he said.

With West Hills Chaminade upsetting Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 35-14 and Los Angeles Loyola knocking off injury riddled Gardena Serra 24-7, it’s the Lancers in control of the Mission League.


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