Crespi over Salpointe, 35-20by Andy Morales on Aug. 19, 2012, under Sports
Salpointe took the opening drive from their own 20 and marched down the field on the strength of a 42-yard pass from Andrew Cota to Conor Craddock that set them up on the 5 yard line. First and goal.
Four straight runs from there against Crespi (Encino) gained the Lancers only four yards and two feet and, in the end, that final foot of artificial turf may have set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Salpointe gave up the ball on downs at a time when each team was trying to figure the other one out and it would begin a series of possessions that resulted in a fumble by Crespi, an interception given up by Salpointe and then an interception given up by Crespi.
Salpointe finally got on the board with a 42-yard field goal by Luke Bakewell with 3:16 remaining in the opening period but the rest of the game proved that they let a good team like Crespi off the hook when they had a chance to reel them in.
Crespi senior quarterback Cody Cordell was 0-2 with an interception at that point – he would finish the game with 240 yards and three touchdowns. There was no looking back.
Crespi tied the game on a 31-yard kick from Patrick Cassley two minutes later. The highlight of the drive was a 35-yard pass from Cordell to Ja’Brian Blackwell. Blackwell would end the game with 169 yards on 8 catches, with one of them going for a 23-yard scoring strike.
Cota was forced to leave the game after the next series due to an injury that kept him out until the second half. Cordell took over and picked up 45 of his yards in his next drive that ended with a 12-yard swing pass to Okalani Langi to go up 10-3 with 9:04 left in the first half.
Langi would finish the game with 136 yards rushing on 24 carries.
Conor Patterson took over for Cota and the Lancers were forced to punt again and Crespi took over at their own 15-yard line with 8:09 remaining.
Cordell hit for 77 yards on the drive, with only one third down play thanks to a sack by Cody Gibson. His final pass on the scoring drive was the 23-yard pass to Blackwell with 4:55 left on the clock.
Crespi got the ball back and but gave it right back on a fumble recovered by Jay Williams but the Lancers were forced to punt. Crespi took over with 2:02 left in the half and a 17-3 lead.
Crespi attempted a fake punt on their drive but Salpointe held on to take the ball over on downs at the 42-yard line with 1:09 remaining.
Johnny Pena picked up 17 yards on the ground to the 25-yard line with 1:01 remaining. Patterson hit Cameron Denson for 4 yards and then Pena ripped off 13 more yards to get to the 8-yard line with 20 seconds left.
Patterson was sacked on the next play but Salpointe was out of time outs. Patterson attempted to ground the ball with 1 second on the clock but it was ruled a fumble and the half ended.
Pena would finish the game with 126 yards on 20 carries and Denson would gain 69 yards on 6 catches, including a late touchdown grab.
Down 17-3 in a game where they could have easily been up by several scores, Salpointe regrouped and came back out of the locker room with Cota.
Cota ultimately finished the game with 288 yards on 18 completions but it was the coming out party for senior receiver Craddock who led the team with 103 yards on 5 catches. Only Crespi’s Blackwell out performed him.
Much of that had to do with Crespi concentrating on Denson with double coverage but Craddock will now get the attention of future opponents as well. Crespi also knew about Salpointe linebacker Carlos Carroll and shifted their scheme to his opposite side but he still managed a sack and few tackles.
Both teams opened up the second half with punts but Cassley would hit on a 38-yard field goal to put Crespi up 20-3 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Salpointe showed signs of recovering and drove from their own 20 down to Crespi’s 10 before a penalty turned a short third-down play into a third-and-long. The Lancers would have to settle for another field goal on the missed opportunity to cut the lead back down to 20-6 with 2:23 left in the third.
Undaunted, Crespi went on a 80-yard drive to go up 28-6 after a penalty on Salpointe during the extra point attempt allowed Crespi to go for 2 points. Cordells’ 5-yard touchdown pass to Torrance Brumfield was then followed up with the 2-point pass to Nico Lima. 11:07 left in the game.
Salpointe drove down to Crespi’s 37-yard line where they gave up the ball on downs. Salpointe held Cordell to two incompletions to start the drive but Langi broke Salpointe’s defense on a 47-yard dash to the 16-yard line.
Cordell hit Shannon Miller at the 1-yard line but he fumbled the ball into the end zone where his teammate Aaron Lacombe recovered it for the touchdown. 35-6 Crespi with 7:46 left in the game.
Cota hit Brogan Kemmerly on a 54-yard strike on the next play from scrimmage to help set up an eventual 3-yard touchdown run by Cota to cut the lead down to 35-13 with 5:28 left in the game.
Kemmerly also drew attention with 86 yards receiving on 4 catches against Crespi.
Conor McMahan took over for Cordell and Salpointe forced a punt. Cota hit Denson for his 23-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead down to 35-20 with 2:11 left in the game.
Crespi recovered an onside kick but they punted again. Time ran out on Salpointe after they drove from their own 15-yard line to Crespi’s 40 on their final possession.
Crespi suffered three straight losses to end their season 7-3 last year. They lost the number one receiver to Cal (Chris Harper) but the team has reloaded with plenty of Division I talent that helped offset the talent Salpointe brought to the field. Senior DB, Tyler Foreman, for example, was one player that Salpointe had difficulty matching up with.
Salpointe finished 9-2 last year and is projected to make a run for a D-II state championship this fall. Head coach Dennis Bene had the ultimate “scrimmage” with the game against Crespi under his belt.
His talent pool is still intact and a few of his questions may have been answered. It doesn’t get an easier, however, as the Lancers will travel to Chaparral next Friday. Chaparral won the state championship last year.
Salpointe and Crespi are both “Carmelite” schools and they have come up with a game trophy called the “Elijah Cup.”
Crespi gets to take it home but Salpointe will visit next year for a chance to get it back.