Los Angeles Preps: Karlton Dennis

Orange County: Servite, Mater Dei renew rivalry on the big stage

October, 29, 2010
Servite and Mater Dei renew their 50-year rivalry tonight at Angel Stadium with first place on the line in the Trinity League.

Servite is ranked No. 1 in the ESPNLA top 25, and Mater Dei is ranked No. 12. Both teams have loads of momentum. Servite (7-0, 2-0) has won 18 in a row, including last season's Pac-5 title and State Division II Bowl Championship -- as well as a 30-20 victory over the Monarchs.

That victory, in which Cody Fajardo passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, ended a 20-year winless streak for the Friars. Their best showing over the previous two decades was a 0-0 tie in 1992.

This year, Servite lacks a player with the offensive charisma of Fajardo, who is now at Nevada Reno, but the defense seems to be even better led by linebackers Matt Inman and Butch Pauu, lineman Jody Thomas and defensive backs Jordan Jones and Karlton Dennis. Servite's first unit has allowed only six touchdowns this season, and two of those were on drives of 22 yards or less.

The Friars' special teams figure to gives Servite an advantage as well. They have blocked three punts in the last two weeks, all leading to touchdowns, and with strong-legged Connor Loftus -- he has kicked a 52-yard field goal already this season -- Servite figures to have the edge.

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