NORWALK -- Malik Felton showed why he might be Servite's secret weapon -- as if the Friars needed more artillery.
With feature back Sean DeRosa making an in-game switch to safety, Felton rushed the ball 25 times for 211 yards and two second-half scores to carry the Friars -- ranked No. 1 by ESPNLA.com -- to a 32-24 Trinity League win against St. John Bosco at Cerritos College on Friday night. Servite actually trailed in the first half, but Felton's 163 yards in the second proved to be too much for the Braves' chances at an upset.
Sometimes, a little self-motivation goes a long way.
"It seemed like the fire just burned into me," Felton said. "I talked to myself and said, 'Alright, you've got to pick this up. Let's get this going. No problem, you've got this.' "
He was right: He did have it.
Felton, a hybrid receiver who had recently been getting more and more practice reps at running back, scored from 10 yards after a Karlton Dennis blocked punt that set up the Friars (7-0) in premium field position to start the second half. He added an 11-yarder early in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game.
"He was ready for this," Servite coach Troy Thomas said. "It isn't like he was playing receiver and not getting reps at running back. He's a running back that plays receiver sometimes."
Servite needed every bit of Felton, the running back.
Down by just eight, the Braves got the ball at their own 11 with just over a minute left. But Servite's defensive front was too powerful, sacking Ray Medina near the goal line to end Bosco's potential game-tying drive before it even began.
Of course, it wasn't all Felton. Quarterback Cody Pittman dinked and dunked his way to 132 yards and a touchdown.
The Friars got fancy for their other score. After a fake handoff to Felton, Pittman gave the ball to Robert Abeyta on a reverse. Abeyta promptly chucked the ball toward the end zone and into the arms of Sam Hunt, giving Servite the early 9-0 lead.
Servite's Connor Loftus had field goals of 25 and 35 yards, but missed two extra-point attempts that could have proved costly. After falling behind late in the first half, Servite responded with an 80-yard scoring drive that was capped by Daniel Tejeda's acrobatic 33-yard catch off a deflection.
"That's the way it's going to be in the Trinity League," Thomas said. "I think this (St. John Bosco) team has got to be one of the best 4-3 teams out there, especially in our league being 0-2. I still think they've got a chance to make the playoffs. They were up on Mater Dei, they were up on us. It's a good football team."
Medina threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Bryce Treggs -- on 19 for 39 passing. Tailback Martin Brown had 114 yards rushing on 21 carries for Bosco (4-3), which fell to 0-2 in league play.
For the most part, the Braves gave Servite all it could handle. The Friars' vaunted defense had given up only 37 points heading into Friday.
"I think they're a good offense," Thomas said. "I don't care about how many points they scored. Going into the game I felt like they would score points, I was just hoping that we would score more than they would."