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Friday, September 9, 2011
Football: No. 1 Servite 49, No. 7 Bishop Amat 14

By Blair Angulo



NORWALK -- Cody Pittman says he's hungry but, judging by how he looked Friday night, the senior quarterback might be selling himself a bit short.

Starving seems more appropriate.

Pittman threw for 139 yards, ran for 75 more and had three total touchdowns, leading top-ranked Servite to a 49-14 drubbing of Bishop Amat at Cerritos College. The Friars did what the Friars do, feasting on a helpless opponent by controlling the trenches.

"When we come out and play our game," Pittman said, "this should be the outcome against most of these teams we've got coming up. ... I want to get back to that point that we were at last year. I want to prove to everyone that last year [against De La Salle] was an upset, that we can bounce back from it."

The Lancers, a trendy Pac-5 Division sleeper pick and the No. 7 team in ESPNLA.com's Top 25 football rankings, were supposed to give Servite a tough test. It never truly materialized, with the Friars (2-0) pulling away to a 28-7 halftime lead. A noticeable amount of Bishop Amat fans filed out of the stadium at the start of the fourth quarter when things appeared meager, but what else did they expect?

"Well, I don't know exactly what went wrong," Lancers coach Steve Hagerty said. "I'll have to look at [the tape] and see. I think they're physically better than us up front, bigger and stronger. Our kids are fighting the good fight but sometimes it's not the best thing."

There wasn't much doing on either side of the ball for Amat (1-1). Senior quarterback Rio Ruiz was just 8 of 17 passing for 73 yards, throwing for a touchdown but, also, two interceptions. One of his picks set Servite up nicely near the goal line, the other came inside the red zone when the game was still within reach.

Amat's only score of the first half was a beauty, with Ruiz hitting Adam Sanchez for a 31-yard touchdown on a crucial fourth and 12. Ruiz beat triple coverage, hitting a diving, sprawling Sanchez in the back of the end zone. The touchdown made it 14-7.

It was all Servite from there.

Friars tailback Charlie Etiaki eased his way through monstrous holes, running for 114 yards on just nine carries. He had two touchdowns, one through the air and another through the ground. Andrew Moore also approached the century mark and had a score.

"The running attack starts with our offensive line and they were getting a push," Pittman said. "When you have that and you have the running backs that we have, it's going to be unstoppable."

Seventh-year coach Troy Thomas was all smiles after the game, complimenting his defense for the job it did against Ruiz and tailback Jalen Moore (20 carries, 73 yards). And, perhaps most notably, the Friars proved they're capable of returning to the Home Depot Center come December, maybe for a rematch against Northern California powerhouse De La Salle.

"We don't really gear ourselves to winning a championship or anything like that," Thomas said. "We're just trying to be champions in our lives. We believe champions win championships. When you do that, then you have a chance in the end."

And, if Pittman has anything to say about it, a little hunger won't hurt either.