by David Delgado
Photo Credit: Drew A. Kelley
BELLFLOWER — Servite rolled to its second consecutive blowout win and opened Trinity League play with a resounding 69-13 thumping of Orange Lutheran on Friday night at St. John Bosco High.
Noah Fifita went 17 for 19 passing for 290 yards and four touchdowns while also running for two scores. The prolific junior orchestrated the Friars’ offense to the tune of a 42-point first half, which equaled their point total last week against Damien.
Servite coach Troy Thomas said his team’s defense goes against Fifita in every practice and they are no strangers to seeing his exceptional skill set. Fortunately for Thomas, Fifita is a Friar.
“He’s special,” Thomas said, “I mean he’s even special when he runs the other team’s offense when he’s the scout team quarterback.”
No. 2 Servite (2-0) jumped out to a 21-7 lead after the opening quarter with touchdowns by Kyle Bandy, Deville Fata and Fifita’s keeper.
The Lancers (0-1) tried to keep pace but were only able to score one touchdown in the contest, which was a 5-yard reception by Malik Blackmon late in the first quarter.
Thomas sees room for improvement on the defensive side and believes his younger players will adjust to the speed of the game. That will certainly be important next week, as St. John Bosco is next on Servite’s schedule.
“I didn’t know how we would play defensively,” Thomas said, “but we made some in game adjustments at halftime, but we didn’t get to show them much because of the turnovers and the running clock in the fourth.”
In the second quarter, Tetairoa McMillan made his first catch of the night and it was a memorable one – a spectacular one-handed grab that went for 45 yards. McMillan capped that drive with a 6-yard catch on a fade route for a TD that made the score 28-7.
Then Lancers answered when Logan Gonzalez found Nick Gallegos for a 37-yard catch to set up a 35-yard field goal by Dieter Kelly.
On the next drive, Fifita hit Wes Taylor in stride for a 39-yard touchdown catch to make it 35-10 with 2:53 left in the second quarter.
Orange Lutheran settled for another field goal, this time Kelly drilled a 42-yarder with 1:29 left in the half, which was plenty of time for Servite to strike again.
The Friars took advantage of a pair of penalties by the Lancers, including a pass interference call as Fifita tried to get the ball to McMillan who had a defender draped around him.
On the final play of the half, Fifita went for it all and found Deville Fata for a 38-yard score to give Servite a 42-13 advantage.
“The mentality of our offense is to be aggressive, which I appreciate,” Thomas said. “Being the defensive coach, it helps me out, that’s for sure.”
The Lancers fumbled on consecutive kickoff returns in the third and the Friars capitalized by scoring two quick rushing touchdowns off each turnover, one by Fifita and the other by Fata.