Kevin Rooney’s returns to the sideline leads Notre Dame’s spirited win over Los Alamitos

SHERMAN OAKS >> It was quite the week for Notre Dame coach Kevin Rooney.

Tuesday his wife Maureen died of leukemia. She was described both by old and current players as being “sweeter than pie”. A person who had as much to do with the team’s success as the man holding the whistle.

It was a warming return for Rooney who came to practice Thursday night. A week of practice which was perfect according to assistant coaches and made even better by seeing their mentor and leader return.

“I’m just thankful for all the support my players have given me,” Rooney said. “It was obviously a tough week for my family, but I’m proud of my players and I’m glad we got the win tonight.”

Sophomore quarterback Cooper Meek and his team wanted to give their beleaguered coach a reason to smile in its CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinal matchup against Los Alamitos.

And they did.

After a disastrous opening drive, Notre Dame responded with overwhelming speed by its secondary and Meek who threw two touchdowns to defeat Los Alamitos 49-32 Friday night.

“It’s been a rough week for all of us but it was great to see Coach Rooney back,” Meek said. “It was just great to see him and the energy he brought to us. She really was the heart and soul of this team. We all miss her so much and we just got to come out and play with the same energy we always play with.

Notre Dame’s secondary was bolstered by cornerback Sean Guyton, who had three interceptions off Los Alamitos quarterback Cade McConnell and returned two for touchdowns.

“My coaches just had me well prepared and I was just able to see the ball well today,” Guyton said. “I thought collectively as a team we had a great job of meeting their physicality.”

Senior defensive lineman Jordan Smith and sophomore linebacker Justin Moore were able to suppress Los Alamitos and its no-huddle offense. Smith had seven tackles and a sack and Moore added two sacks in the third quarter.

“I give all credit to my defensive line,” Moore said. “They were being double teamed so I was able to just attack and take advantage of my opportunities.

Notre Dame (9-3) will face Rancho Verde at home next week after defeating Alemany.

Los Alamitos (9-2-1) was led by Demario King who had four touchdowns including three in the second half. His 37 yard touchdown catch from Cade McConnell made the score 37-32 with 1:44 left to play in the game.

“I just love this game of football,” King said. “I love playing and I don’t feel any pressure. It’s just something that I do. We got off to a bit of a slow start. We are really a defensive team and when that’s not working we tend to hurt ourselves a bit. I just kept working though and credit to my offensive line for making plays for me.”

Notre Dame responded with two late touchdowns including a 50 yard kickoff return from Ezekiel Larry along with Guyton’s second defensive touchdown.

“You know this team did a lot of great things this year,” Los Alamitos coach Greg Snyder said. “35 seniors and these men all played for each other and they all loved each other. Couldn’t ask anything more for them. But all credit goes to Notre Dame. They played very well.”

***

Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.