Eagles 16 - Servite 16

MISSION VIEJO, CA., November 9, 2001 – Servite kicker Mike Lawrence's 30-yard field goal with 0:09 left capped an 80-yard drive over the final 5:43 to give the Friars a controversial 16-16 tie with Santa Margarita before 5,500 at Saddleback College. The tie brought the Eagles' regular season record to 7-1-2 while the Friars finished off their year at 5-4-1.

The unwillingness by Servite to play the mandated overtime period, despite being required by Serra League guidelines, potentially cost the Eagles a chance at the third seed in the CIF-SS Division I playoffs, and brought an end to an unusual regular season that saw the Eagles begin it and end it with a tie. On the positive side, the tie still allowed Santa Margarita to win their second consecutive Serra League title with an undefeated 2-0-1 mark and gave Coach Hartigan his fourth league title in the past six seasons.

The Eagles wasted little time in getting on the board as they needed only three plays to go 63 yards and score when Chase McWhorter scored from 12 yards out with less than one minute gone. The key play was a 40-yard reception by Brandon Clark on a bomb from Marshall Tharpe that preceded the touchdown run. Servite responded when Dillon Bedard scored from three yards out with 4:43 left in the quarter; however, the PAT was missed and the Eagles remained ahead 7-6. Two possessions later, Santa Margarita went on a 10-play 78-yard drive which stalled at the Friar 12 before Jason Graban's first of three field goals, this one from 29 yards out increased the Eagle lead to 10-6 at the end of the first quarter.

On the subsequent possession Cole DeVitis blocked a Friar punt which was recovered by Renny Jackson at the Servite 26. The Eagles moved as close as the Friar two before two penalties and an incomplete pass forced Santa Margarita to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Graban with 6:07 left in the half to move ahead 13-6. Tharpe led the Eagles on a drive in the final minutes of the half and got as close as the three when on fourth-and-inches the field goal unit was sent in and Graban's final field goal with 0:21 left gave the hosts a 16-6 halftime lead.

The first half saw the Eagles ring up 228 yards and 10 first downs, but the second half was dominated by long time consuming Friar drives which limited Santa Margarita to 24 yards and one first down in three possessions. The opening drive of the third quarter saw the Friars go on a 14-play, 80-yard drive which took 7:22 off the clock and was capped by Bedard's second touchdown of the game this time from five yards out to close the gap to 16-13. After an exchange of punts, the eagles moved to the Friar 40 before punting on fourth and two. DeVitis came through with an interception with 6:45 left in the game which set up the Eagles at the Servite 26. A beautiful 23-yard touchdown pass from Tharpe (seven of 16 for 137 yards) to Bobby Whithorne was nullified by a holding penalty and after an incompletion a Lief Nylander punt set the Friars up at their own seven with 5:43 left.

Using a mix of runs and passes the Friars were able to overcome a sack and fumble to convert three two key down and one fourth down situations into first downs to keep the drive alive before Lawrence's heroics sealed a tie. The controversy erupted immediately after the final gun when the officials, who were unaware of Serra League overtime requirements and were walking back to their lockerroom, were brought back to the center of the field to discuss the matter. They asked for confirmation from both athletic directors that overtime is indeed required, and if so, were both parties willing to continue the game. Servite, claiming that they were unaware of the overtime requirement, declined to participate any further and the game was declared a draw.

Santa Margarita 10 6 0 0 16
Servite 6 0 7 3 16

SM – McWhorter 12 run (Graben kick)
SER – Bedard 3 run (kick failed)
SM – Graben 29 FG
SM – Graben 28 FG
SM – Graben 20 FG
SER – Bedard 5 run (Rizzuto kick)
SER – Lawrence 30 FG

Rushing: SER - Bedard 11-71, Martin 18-58; SM - McWhorter 17-89, Tharpe 7-10
Passing: SER - Coffelt 7-13-1-100; SM - Tharpe 7-16-0-147
Receiving: SER - Hilde 3-43, Slater 2-37; SM - Devitis 3-53, Clark 1-40


By Adrian Peters
Sports Information Director