Laguna Hills quarterback Mitch O'Hair with a handoff to Sam Warren in the first few seconds of play against Trabuco Hills on Friday evening.

Montgomery's kickoff return lifts Laguna Hills past Trabuco Hills


LAGUNA HILLS – Logan Montgomery had only one thought cross his mind as he corralled a kickoff from the Friday night sky in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

He wasn’t going down.

The junior playmaker’s prophecy proved self-fulfilling, as he weaved in and out of Trabuco Hills’ defenders to ultimately give Laguna Hills the win.

“I was scoring no matter what,” Montgomery said.

The 97-yard touchdown return ignited a furious second-half comeback for the Hawks, who defeated visiting Trabuco Hills, 35-29, in a Sea View League finale.

“This is really surreal right now,” said Montgomery, gasping for breath shortly after his winning score. “I can’t even think right now. I’m just happy for our team that we won and are going to the playoffs.”

With the victory, the Hawks secured the league's second guaranteed postseason berth. It will be Laguna Hills’ (7-3, 2-2) first postseason appearance since the 2012 season.

Trabuco Hills (3-7, 2-2) could be in the discussion for one of three at-large playoff bids in the Southwest Division.

For Laguna Hills coach Bruce Ingalls, in his 30th season at the school (18th as head coach) and final year at the helm, the concluding regular-season game couldn’t have been scripted more dramatically.

“We have a resilient bunch,” Ingalls said. “We didn’t know what to expect when we came into this game. We were just hoping we could play with them. I told them somewhere in Orange County there was going to be an upset tonight, and it might as well be us.”

The Hawks overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit. They scored 14 straight points on the heels of Branson Weems’ gadget play, which culminated in Montgomery’s 89-yard catch-and-run TD with 4:42 left in the third for a 20-14 lead. Montgomery caught five passes for 132 yards and two TDs.

The lead switched hands four more times in the final two quarters.

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