Game 8 - Servite

EAGLES 20, SERVITE 17 (MISSION VIEJO, Oct. 31, 2003) – Mike Fowle connected on a 36-yard field goal with no time remaining to give Santa Margarita a thrilling 20-17 come from behind victory over the Servite Friars at Saddleback College. The win improved the Eagles to 7-1 on the season and more importantly kept them in step with league powers Loyola and Mater Dei who also boast 2-1 league marks. The 17-point comeback tied the school mark for the largest come from behind victory (matching the 17-0 deficit they faced against Ayala in 2000 before pulling out a 22-17 win) and marked the first time the Eagles defeated the Friars at Saddleback College.

Fowle’s kick culminated a dramatic turnaround for the hosts as they fell behind 17-0 early in the contest, but the Eagles showed their resolve and slowly but surely chipped away at the lead. The Friars (6-2, 1-2) got on the board first as they marched 60 yards on eight consecutive run plays capped by quarterback Andrew Boyle’s one-yard plunge with 3:48 left in the first quarter to make it 7-0. After recovering an on-sides kick, Servite couldn’t muster a first down but Chris Gossling’s punt was downed at the Eagle one where one play later an Eagle fumble on the six set the visitors up for another quick score. On second and goal from the two Boyle ran across again, this time from two yards out, to make it 14-0 at the 1:40 mark. An interception on the Eagle’s next possession gave the Friar offense the ball at the 33 where Gossling hit a 32-yard field goal seven plays later to make it 17-0 with 8:26 left in the half. From that point on the Eagles settled down and took command of the game by controlling the clock, winning the battles of field position and turnovers and making enough big plays to keep the chains moving.

Just eight seconds after the field goal quarterback Michael Angelo needed only one play to get the Eagles back into the game as he rolled out and connected with Mark Restelli (three receptions for 101 yards) on a 67-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 17-7 at the 8:14 mark. After forcing a Friar punt Santa Margarita went on a 14-play drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock before Fowle booted a 42-yard field goal to pull the Eagles within seven at 17-10 with 0:31 remaining in the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half Ryan Nienhuis (11 tackles) recovered a fumble inside the Eagle 10. From there the hosts went on a 72-yard drive on 10 plays, but Fowle’s 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left to keep it at a 17-10 deficit with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter. The Eagles marched 80 yards on their next drive on the arms and feet of Angelo (20 carries for 140 yards, and 9 of 20 passing for 164 yards) as the senior standout ran for gains of 11 and 24 yards before finding Colin Schmit for a 17-yard completion to give the Eagles a first and goal on the Friar three. Chris Ramsey (15 carries for 80 yards) ran untouched for paydirt on the next play to tie the score at 17 with 7:08 remaining. An interception by Thomas Ramirez ended one Friar drive, and both teams were forced to punt on the next two possessions giving an indication that the contest may go to overtime.

However, with 0:38 remaining in the game, senior defensive end Jeff Jones intercepted an attempted screen pass and returned it 18 yards to the Friar 19. With 0:28 left on the clock and the benefit of one timeout Angelo ran one sneak to the center of the field before calling timeout with 0:03 remaining. From there Fowle calmly entered his name in Eagle lore. It should be noted that Fowle’s kick was reminiscent of Jeff Zaist’s dramatic 46-yard game winning field goal against Irvine, which also sailed through the same south goalposts at Saddleback College with no time remaining eight years earlier.

Defensively, Jack Meehan led the team in tackles once again collecting 16 and marking the tenth consecutive game he has registered at least ten breaking the record of nine he shared with Matt Szkalak. Jones, who had earlier broken up another pass and made nine tackles of his own earned Defensive Lineman of the Game honors, while Ramirez added eight tackles to go along with his key interception.