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Barriere, La Habra end Laguna Hills' playoff run
LAGUNA HILLS – Eric Barriere faced most of his challenges in the second half Friday night and, without hesitation, conquered nearly every one.
La Habra’s dual-threat quarterback completed 12 of 14 passes after halftime, racking up 219 of his 247 passing yards and three touchdowns, to guide top-seeded La Habra past host Laguna Hills, 42-14, in a CIF-SS Southwest Division second-round playoff game.
The Highlanders (11-1) will meet Villa Park (12-0) at home in next week’s semifinals.
“It’s the playoffs. Anything can happen, and it usually does,” La Habra coach Frank Mazzotta said. “The kids came out here and they were prepared.”
La Habra, the Freeway League champion, extended its winning streak to nine games. The Highlanders have outscored opponents, 175-14, in their last three games, and Barriere is a big reason.
The senior finished with 361 total yards (114 rushing), including a 6-yard TD run in the first quarter.
“My offensive line is doing a really good job, keeping me in the pocket, knowing that I’m safe, and blocking for the running back, too,” Barriere said.
Junior receiver Prince Ross caught eight passes for 120 yards and two scores.
After La Habra took a 21-7 halftime lead, Barriere connected with Ross on a 5-yard touchdown pass four minutes into the third quarter to push the Highlanders’ lead to 28-7.
But the Hawks didn’t back down. Quarterback Mitchell O’Hair converted a fourth-and-2 at La Habra’s 3, bolting into the end zone to cut the deficit to 28-14 with 1:44 left in the third.
Barrierre, though, responded on the ensuing possession, finding Ross again on a wide-open 54-yard pass play to push the game out of reach at 35-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Khailand Johnson’s interception led to La Habra’s final touchdown, Barriere’s 52-yard connection to Amon Fellows with 7:45 left.
Cortlin Taylor ran for 170 of his 195 yards in the first half and had touchdown runs of 54 and 1 yard.
Laguna Hills ended the La Habra defense’s 13-quarter scoreless streak when O’Hair found Logan Montgomery on a 4-yard TD pass in the first quarter.
Laguna Hills (8-4) completed a tremendous turnaround after winning just one game in 2014. Coach Bruce Ingalls, who coached his final game Friday night, expressed pride prior to kickoff in what his squad accomplished in such a short time frame.
“This thing isn’t about me,” said the retiring Ingalls, who was with the school for 30 years. “It’s about the kids I’ve coached all these years. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been thrilled with the whole ride.”
Laguna Hills (8-4) completed a tremendous turnaround after winning just one game in 2014. “This thing isn’t about me,” said retiring coach Bruce Ingalls, who coached his final game after 30 years with the school. “It’s about the kids I’ve coached all these years. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been thrilled with the whole ride.”