State No. 4 Serra of Gardena started its game with Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks looking stagnant on offense as if the Cavaliers had left it in San Diego from their previous two games. The team had trouble moving the ball and its kicker missed two field goals in the first half.
Notre Dame, coming off a win over Del Oro of Loomis also in San Diego, had its own troubles with Serra’s relentless defense but the Knights scored on their opening and closing possession of the first half. Two field goals by Lucas Alfonso (33 and 38 yards) gave Notre Dame a 6-0 lead despite only 77 yards of offense.
The second half was a battle of attrition as neither team could put together a successful drive. Notre Dame played it conservatively with short runs to burn the clock but Alfonso missed two field goals (a 35-yarder just off the right goal post and a 51-yarder that fell short). The Cavaliers hurt themselves with penalties, dropped passes and a lack of a consistent running game.
Things changed with 4:09 left in regulation. Serra drove 80 yards in 1:29 to score on Jalen Greene’s 15-yard run. However, Sifa Maama missed the extra point and the game remained tied at 6. Four plays later, Notre Dame responded as Grant Kraemer hit Koa Farmer with 49-yard touchdown. On the very next play, Greene found Adoree Jackson on a slant and Jackson scampered 80 yards to the end zone. Maama’s extra point tied the game with 54 seconds left.
After Notre Dame failed to score, both teams went to overtime. Notre Dame had first crack at the end zone and Alfonso attempted an 31-yard field goal. But the kick was blocked by Malachi Mageo and Serra took over. More mistakes hurt the Cavs as two critical drops and a missed 25-yard field goal sent the game to second OT. That’s when Greene found Jackson on the first play for a 25-yard touchdown.
Notre Dame’s last chance was snuffed out by Serra’s defense, which finished with eight sacks, led by Olajuwon Tucker and Corey Adolphus with two apiece. Jackson had 97 receiving yards and 43 on the ground. Greene was 16-of-31 for 273 yards. Farmer led the Knights with 102 yards.
Serra moves to 3-0, Notre Dame to 2-1.