Crespi's Darius Perrantes is tackled by, from left, Orange Lutheran's Nipa Tuitahi, Josh Witherspoon, Blake Hehl, and Michael Noble during Friday night's nonleague game at Orange Coast College.

Orange Lutheran earns victory to remember


COSTA MESA – After a loss, the Orange Lutheran football team doesn’t want to spend too much time dwelling on what went wrong.

That’s a good way to be, especially when you’re dealing with this year’s schedule and a tough Crespi of Encino team lining up across the field.

So, after dropping a close decision in the opener, the third-ranked Lancers started the new week with a clear perspective and turned in a better performance, defeating the visiting Celts, 23-3 in a nonleague game Friday night at Orange Coast College.

“Last week we didn’t play as well as we expected, but we have a 24-hour rule,” quarterback Ryan Hilinski said. “Within 24 hours of the last game, we come out, forget about last week and refocus on this week.

“We went out (during the week), practiced hard. We knew that we were going to come out with a certain game plan and we were just going to go 100 percent effort.”

The Lancers (1-1) opened the game looking a bit like last year’s team, relying on the ground game and the offensive line. The Lancers attempted just seven passes in the first half, but led 9-3 at halftime.

“We were going ground and pound and we knew that once we did that, the safeties would bite, the backers would bite and we could hit some routes,” Hilinski said.

The biggest pass play came in the third quarter on a simple screen from Hilinski to Dominik Austin, that the running back took 80 yards for a touchdown and a 23-3 lead.

“I was sitting back there and I was thinking, OK, he has the first (down) and he kept going and I was like he’s got even more and I just ran after him,” Hilinski said. “He’s always got my back.”

For coach Chuck Petersen, the game was all about trying to improve from last week. The defense did its part, coming up with four turnovers, including three interceptions (Jacob DeWitt, Brandon McKinney and Xavier Steele). The offense didn’t turn the ball over and was able to control the game with their work on the offensive line.

“We became who we want to be,” Petersen said. “The kids up front did a great job, managed the game great and defensively again, very opportunistic, got a lot of turnovers and when you get turnovers you’ve got a chance.

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