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Servite avoids being tripped up by Villa Park
ORANGE – The closer-than-it-seemed final score didn’t bother Servite coach Scott Meyer as much as the penalties Friday night, but he’ll take the 41-32 victory over Villa Park.
The Friars (2-2) still have one more tuneup next week against Garfield of L.A. before Trinity League play begins Oct. 7 against St. John Bosco. Meyer hopes his team can learn from their mistakes against Villa Park, which scored two touchdowns in the final minutes to take a big bite out of Servite’s lead.
“We were real inconsistent, did some really good things, but got a little sloppy in there,” Meyer said. “Way too many penalties, so we’ve got to clean that up. Some penalties really hurt us.”
Servite scored touchdowns on its final three drives of the first half and the defense kept Villa Park without a first down on its last three possessions, turning a close game into a 31-13 lead for the Friars at the break.
The game started even rougher for the Spartans, who lost fumbles on the snap on two of their first four plays. Servite didn’t capitalize on the first turnover, but it did after the second as Steven Muise scored on a 15-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Asa Fuller tacked on his seventh field goal in nine tries this season to stretch the lead to 10-0 before Villa Park found its groove behind a 62-yard touchdown pass from Nick Sipe to Hunter Ancich with 3:30 left in the first quarter.
The Spartans then turned to 6-foot-3, 225-pound running back John Stamos on their next possession and he scored on a 19-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second quarter to give Villa Park a 13-10 lead.
Villa Park seemed to catch a break later in the quarter when Dominic Wingfield’s 87-yard punt return for a touchdown was called back on an illegal block, but the Friars proceeded to march down the field and take a 17-13 lead on a 41-yard catch and run by wide receiver Kyle Ford.
Servite continued to tighten up on the defensive side of the ball and found holes in Villa Park’s defense. William Dean was handed the ball on four consecutive plays and moved the Friars to the 1-yard line, where quarterback Tyler Lytle scored on a keeper for a 24-13 advantage with 3:24 left in the first half.
The Friars didn’t coast into halftime, instead forcing a three-and-out for the third straight series and then driving 72 yards in the final 1:31, taking a 31-13 lead on Wingfield’s 7-yard run with five seconds left in the half.
Lytle finished 18-of-27 passing for 267 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another.
“He was throwing the ball really well, had some really nice throws,” Meyer said. “We’re really happy with the way he’s playing.”