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ED CRISOSTOMO, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
In the final seconds of the game, Servite's Equanimeous St. Brown (6) makes the winning touchdown grab against Orange Lutheran's defense in the 4th quarter on Friday at Cerritos College.

Servite stuns Orange Lutheran with last-play TD

OCVARSITY.COM

NORWALK – One of Servite's traditions before and after football games is reciting the Hail Mary.

On Friday night, the Friars' Travis Waller threw the Hail Mary pass on the final play to wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown in a desperate attempt to beat Orange Lutheran.

Prayers do get answered.

Even in a Pac-5 Division grouping as challenging as the Trinity League.

The 6-foot-5 St. Brown out-jumped three other players for a 40-yard touchdown reception on the final play and Andrew Acosta kicked the extra-point as the No. 3 Friars stunned No. 4 Orange Lutheran, 20-19, at Cerritos College.

“We just believed in ourselves,” said St. Brown, who finished with seven receptions for 94 yards. “When it came down to it, we made a play. …

“I've never felt this good before. I've never had that feeling of a game-winning touchdown.”

As the Friars (5-3, 2-1) rushed onto the field, some players from Orange Lutheran (6-2, 1-2) fell to the turf.

“It ended on a Hail Mary – they call it that for a reason,” Servite first-year coach A.J. Gass said. “We were fortunate. We were fortunate for everything that played out the way it did.”

Servite drove from its 20 in the final 1:23 for the winning touchdown.

The Friars used a fourth-and-1 conversion by running back Tate Beachley to get its initial first down with about a minute left.

Later in the drive, they were called for a personal foul on a block delivered for Waller as he ran out of bounds at his 49 with 43 seconds left.

But wide receiver Neil Pauu, who was flagged for the block, made consecutive receptions to drive Servite from its 34 to the Lancers 41 with 22 seconds left. The Lancers hung tough by tackling a scrambling Waller at the 40 on the next play.

But the junior quarterback spiked the football to stop the clock with eight seconds left, setting the stage for St. Brown, a one-time transfer from Orange Lutheran.

“It's good to see our guys rise to the challenge and answer a difficult situation with heart, courage and very strong will,” Gass said. “We got the win tonight but we'll have an opportunity to learn as well. ... I'm hoping this doesn't go down as the peak of our season. I'm hoping this is just foundation."

Gass used his three timeouts in the final 1:40 to stop the clock as the Lancers marched toward a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Luke Langdon with 1:23 left.

Langdon's run capped a grueling, 14-play, 80-yard drive and gave the Lancers a 19-13 lead.

Servite blocked the extra-point but the Lancers had answered a 19-yard TD run by Waller, who tied the score, 13-13, with 6:10 left in the fourth.

“Great high school football game,” Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen said. “That's why you play to the very last play.

“Give them credit. They executed that (final play). … (But) it didn't come down to that (play).”

Both teams didn't capitalize on all their scoring chances, especially in the kicking game.

Servite missed a 27-yard field goal and an extra-point in the first half, which ended with Orange Lutheran leading, 7-6.

The Lancers missed two extra-points in the second half while Servite had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked.

Orange Lutheran also hurt itself with a couple key penalties. On one, the Lancers intercepted Waller in Servite territory in the middle of the fourth quarter but a roughing the passer penalty negated the play and kept the drive alive for the Friars. Waller capped the drive with his 19-yard TD run as Servite tied the score, 13-13.

Orange Lutheran took a 13-6 lead into the fourth quarter thanks to Langdon's 18-yard TD pass to wide receiver Ahkeli Rembert with 2:27 left in the third. Langdon faked two handoffs and scrambled before his throw, which capped another 80-yard drive.

The defenses dominated the first half.

The Lancers took a 7-6 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run by Garrett Gutierrez and extra-point by Jerry Fitschen with 5:29 left in the second quarter.

Gutierrez's third-and-goal run capped a third 80-yard drive, which was sparked by a 50-yard reception by Adam Connette from Langdon.

The Lancers’ drive answered Servite’s six-play, 59-yard scoring drive earlier in the second. Andrew Moore scored on a 1-yard TD run with 8:42 left in the second quarter but the Friars missed the extra-point after being moved back 15 yards for a personal foul.

Servite also missed a 27-yard field goal in the opening quarter as the Lancers’ defense came away with a defensive stand. Friars cornerback Maurice Davison made a one-handed grab for his second interception of the first quarter and returned the ball 63 yards to the Lancers 14 late the frame. But the drive stalled and a 34-yard FG by Servite the mark.

The Friars play JSerra (0-3 in league) next week while the Lancers take on Santa Margarita (1-2), which upset Mater Dei.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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