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Saturday, November 12, 2011
No. 1 Servite 43, No. 6 S. Marg. 42 (OT)


Servite football
Servite quarterback Cody Pittman (12) rushes the ball during Friday's game against Santa Margarita.

CERRITOS -- No guts, no glory.

Down by one point in overtime, Servite quarterback Cody Pittman rolled to his right, made his reads, and hit Ainslie Johnson in the end zone for a two-point conversion.

It was the only thing that separated top-ranked Servite from Santa Margarita, the No. 6 team in the ESPNLA Top 25, in a 43-42 victory at Cerritos College on Friday night.

"I didn't want to face their offense again," said Servite coach Troy Thomas, whose team came into the game ranked No. 2 in the state and didn't like the prospect of trying to stop the Eagles again.

When Servite (9-1, 5-0) begins its quest for a third consecutive Southern Section Pac-5 title next week, the Friars will be the top-seeded team. Santa Margarita will be the second-place team from the league, and No. 18 St. John Bosco, by virtue of its 48-28 win over Orange Lutheran, will be the third-place team.

It was the 19th consecutive Trinity League victory for Servite, which won outright its seventh consecutive league title -- all since the arrival of Thomas.

Pittman rushed 18 times for 100 yards, and also completed 20 of 23 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns.

Pittman was complemented by Mana Pauu, who rushed for three touchdowns, of 10, 3 and 3 yards. He carried 16 times for 62 yards.

Pittman's performance overshadowed an extraordinary effort by Santa Margarita's Johnny Stanton who rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another, a screen that went for 60 yards to Ryan Wolpin. Wolpin also scored on runs of one and five yards.

Stanton completed 19 of 27 passes for 274 yards, and he also rushed 25 times for 133 yards. He scored from seven yards with 1:50 left in the game to tie the contest at 35-35.

"Our coach trusted us to do the job and we did it," said Pittman. "If we hadn't gone for two we could have been butting heads all night."

The game started on an ominous note. Sean DeRosa received a concussion on the opening kickoff and was taken away by ambulance. The teams met at midfield to pray together.

Santa Margrita (8-2, 3-2) had the ball first in overtime and took its only lead when Stanton scored from five yards. John McGrory, who extended his consecutive PAT streak to 107, gave the Eagles their 42-35 advantage. A roughing the kicker penalty by Servite -- penalized 13 times for 140 yards -- forced the Friars to start their overtime possession at the 30. Pittman had gains of eight and nine yards and a pass completion to Sam Hunt for six.

On second and goal at the three, Pauu -- who rushed for three scores and also had a TD reception -- took it in. That set the stage for the offense one more time as Pittman went to the line. Seconds later, Johnson had the ball, and Servite had one of the great victories of the 2011 season.