There was a considerable buzz during the warm-ups for last night's Catholic League Division AAAA semifinal playoff game between Cardinal O'Hara and Father Judge. It was created by the in-uniform presence of injured O'Hara standouts Tom Savage and Corey Brown.

Savage and Brown played for the Lions, but Judge tailback Curtis Wortham quickly stole the attention away from them and turned in a record-setting performance. He rushed 26 times for a single-game school record of 296 yards and four touchdowns as the Crusaders rolled to a 30-24 win at Northeast High's Charlie Martin Memorial Stadium.

Wortham, a 5-foot-5, 155-pound junior, eclipsed the old school single-game mark of 272 yards set by former star Jerry Magallanes in 1981.

In the first half, Wortham, who was No. 3 on the depth chart going into training camp, carried 18 times for 154 yards and three touchdowns. His scores covered 50, 22 and 2 yards.

In next Saturday's Catholic League final, Judge (8-3) will take on the winner of this afternoon's semifinal between La Salle (7-2) and St. Joseph's Prep (8-2). The Crusaders last won a league title in 1984, under former coach John "Whitey" Sullivan.

Judge's defense was led by tackle Jeff Brewer (four tackles, two sacks, one hurry), and linebackers Adam Nowak (five tackles, sack, deflection), Joe Swallow (six tackles) and Tim McCaffrey (five tackles). Cornerback Kevin Toner had a fourth-quarter interception.

On the second play of the third quarter, Wortham, a big-time workhorse, closed the scoring with a 57-yard TD burst. That score put the banged-up Lions in a 30-7 hole.

Brown, a speedy junior tailback who missed five games with a torn left knee ligament, carried 12 times for 91 yards. In the first quarter, his 71-yard scoring jaunt put the Lions (7-4) in front, 7-3.

The 6-5, 220-pound Savage, headed to Rutgers, missed last week's regular-season finale against La Salle with a bruised throwing hand. Against Judge, he completed 17 of 32 passes for 202 yards.

Overall, the Crusaders rushed for 340 yards. Sophomore quarterback Tony Smith had a 40-yard gain midway through the second quarter.

Cardinal O'Hara 7 0 0 7 - 14

Father Judge 17 7 6 0 - 30

FJ: FG Schultz 26

CO: Brown 71 run (Penza kick)

FJ: Wortham 50 run (Schultz kick)

FJ: Wortham 22 run (Schultz kick)

FJ: Wortham 2 run (Schultz kick)

FJ: Wortham 57 run (kick blocked)

CO: McCloskey 16 pass from Savage (Schultz kick)