Page One

Panthers fall to Piedmont, still get NCS berth

By Catherine Howard Daily Planet Correspondent
Monday November 18, 2002

As the St. Mary’s High Panthers took their two final timeouts of the regular season on Saturday with five seconds remaining in a tied game, they could only hope that Piedmont kicker Evan Lindenmayer would stay true to form. The junior kicker had not made a field goal all season, and had been inconsistent in his attempts to convert extra points. 

Unfortunately for the Panthers, Lindenmayer chose the last game of the season to prove the old adage that practice pays off.  

Lindenmayer hit the game-winning field goal, giving the Highlanders a 10-7 lead and the precious victory. The Highlanders stormed the field moments later, starting an extended celebration with Lindenmayer at its center.  

The last-minute loss left St. Mary’s with a losing record (4-5-1 overall, 2-3 BSAL). The team ended the season poorly, losing its last three games, but still received a berth in the North Coast Section 2A East Bay playoffs. St. Mary’s got the eighth and final spot in a hotly contested battle with De Anza High, which finished 5-5. St. Mary’s won the head-to-head battle on Sept. 27, 29-18, and that was the deciding factor for the selection committee. 

“I felt that with everything else being pretty equal, it should come down to who won on the field. That’s where things should be settled whenever possible,” St. Mary’s head coach Jay Lawson said. “If [De Anza] had beaten us, we wouldn’t even have shown up at the meeting.” 

St. Mary’s will head to Orinda to take on top seed Miramonte High on Friday at 7 p.m. 

Saturday’s win secured a playoff spot for the Highlanders (7-3, 4-1), who won their last four games and were second in the BSAL behind an undefeated John Swett.  


Late in the fourth quarter Panthers junior defensive back Lavonte Kirven intercepted a pass from Piedmont quaterback Brian Trowbridge at the St. Mary’s 21-yard line, giving the Panthers a chance to take the lead. However, with 1:37 remaining St. Mary’s quarterback Scott Tully fumbled a snap and Piedmont tackle Andrew Sowell recovered the ball at the St. Mary’s 38.  

The Highlanders then drove to the St. Mary’s 7 before Piedmont running back Mark Jones fumbled, with the Highlanders recovering on the 11. Trowbridge recovered to spike the ball to stop the clock with five seconds remaining, setting up Lindenmayer’s winning kick.  

The Panthers used their two remaining timeouts in an attempt to make Lindenmayer overthink the play, but the effort proved futile. Lindenmayer’s 28-yard kick went directly through the uprights, landing far behind the goalposts. 

“The delay didn’t bother me,” said Lindenmayer, “I make them all the time in practice, and I went out there and did it the same way.”  

Despite the game’s playoff implications, the Panthers looked flat throughout the contest and failed to take advantage of Piedmont’s many mistakes. The Highlanders turned the ball over three times in the first half, twice on fumbles and once on an interception, but the Panthers could not convert the turnovers into scores. The half ended in a scoreless tie, with neither team getting close to the goal line. 

The Highlanders got on the board first in the second half, after senior Pat Castles intercepted a pass from St. Mary’s quarterback Scott Tully at the St. Mary’s 26. Three plays later, Castles ran the ball 14 yards for a touchdown and Piedmont took a 7-0 lead with 2:11 remaining in the third quarter. The intercepted pass was Tully’s first play of the game.  

St. Mary’s answered on the next possession, driving 46 yards on seven plays, including an 18-yard run by junior running back Fred Hives, who had 16 carries for 127 yards in the game. St. Mary’s scored with 10:44 remaining when quarterback Steve Murphy completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Coogler on fourth-and-seven. Senior kicker Brendan Slevin made the point-after to tie the game.  

“This was an emotional game for us, a hard fought game,” said Lawson. “We just let Piedmont have the ball too many times, and didn’t take advantages of mistakes.”