Corona Centennial linebacker Camron Pitcher Jr., left, stops Orange Lutheran's Michael Noble on a first-down run in the first half of Friday night's game in Corona.

Orange Lutheran knocked out by Centennial's bold move


CORONA – Orange Lutheran’s sideline erupted in celebration when Corona Centennial wide receiver Xavier Marshall was brought down 6 yards shy of a first down midway through the fourth quarter.

The Lancers’ joy quickly turned to disbelief, however. Centennial coach Matt Logan kept the offense on the field despite facing fourth down on his own 35 while nursing a 14-point lead.

Manny Allen slipped past Orange Lutheran’s secondary, hauled in a pass from Tanner McKee and raced 65 yards into the end zone. That touchdown all but sealed host Centennial’s 42-14 win Friday night.

“Of course he went for it. That’s what he does,” Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen said.

Logan had a play dialed up for Allen but called a timeout with the play clock winding down. When Orange Lutheran’s defense showed the exact same look, Logan decided to stick with the call.

“You do what you have to do to win games,” Logan said of the call. “I was pretty sure I was going to go for it no matter what. We figured they’d take the short pass away, so we went deeper.”

Orange Lutheran (1-2) held Centennial to four offensive possessions in the first half, part of a masterful game plan by Petersen and his staff. The problem for the Lancers, however, was their offense was unable to put any points on the scoreboard, and Centennial led 21-0 at the break.

“We put ourselves in a good position, but we just couldn’t finish those drives,” Petersen said.

Orange Lutheran recovered an onside kick to start the second half, and the Lancers capitalized when Ryan Hilinski threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Austin Liles. In the fourth quarter, Dominik Austin scored on a 1-yard run to cut the deficit to 28-14. The Lancers recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, but turned the ball over on downs.

Centennial (2-1) took possession, and a few minutes later McKee and Allen worked their magic. McKee threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown.

Austin finished with 151 yards on 23 carries for Orange Lutheran.

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