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Loveland kicks University to win over Northwood
IRVINE – Players are lucky if they experience one comeback like the one University had on Friday night.
After watching a potential winning Northwood field goal float through the uprights with 34 seconds left, the Trojans rallied to set up their junior kicker with a chance for the win.
Nick Loveland converted his 19-yard attempt, preserving University’s undefeated season in a wild, 19-17 victory over Northwood in a Pacific Coast League game at Irvine High.
“I’m always thinking that I’ll get a chance because my team always seems to come through for me,” Loveland said. “I can’t thank my team enough for the opportunity I got.”
“I feel like I repaid them for everything that they’ve done. I couldn’t do anything less than make that field goal.”
University (7-0, 2-0) has won its first seven games for the first time since 2007. It faces Corona del Mar, which has a 17-game league winning streak, next week.
The Trojans moved the ball 70 yards on two plays to give Loveland the opportunity. Neil Boudreau completed a 15-yard pass to Matt Abellaneda on the first. The next pass went to tight end Michael Jung on a crossing pattern for a 55-yard gain to the Northwood 2.
“I trusted my (offensive) line to block for me, and they did.”
University also had a last-minute comeback against Calvary Chapel.
“The kids knew we have done it before, not that we want to make a habit of it,” Trojans coach Mark Cunningham said.
Northwood (2-5, 1-1) trailed, 16-14, when its final possession began with two minutes remaining. Trevor Lawrence completed six of his eight passes (four to Michael Bellas) on the drive, as the Timberwolves went 56 yards on 10 plays. That set up Winston Li’s 34-yard field goal, which gave Northwood a 17-16 lead.
A rushing touchdown by Abellaneda and a pick six by Anthony Medina put the Trojans ahead, 13-0, after one quarter.
The scare was on in the second quarter. Liam Akiva had a 4-yard rushing touchdown. On University’s next drive, Justin Nidoy fell on a fumble to give Northwood the ball in University territory. On a sneak, Lawrence plunged across the goal line for Northwood’s 14-13 halftime edge.