Orange Lutheran quarterback Ryan Hilinski, center, holds the ball up after scoring a touchdown in overtime against JSerra in Costa Mesa on Friday, October 7, 2016. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange Lutheran escapes with win over JSerra in OT


COSTA MESA – The difference between 1-0 and 0-1 in the Trinity League for the JSerra and Orange Lutheran football teams came down to a 2-point conversion in overtime.

JSerra, which had just scored on a 4-yard touchdown run from Matthew Robinson, decided to go for the win in the league opener.

Orange Lutheran’s star defensive player, Brandon McKinney, had other plans.

The senior, who was heavily involved in the passing game, read the play and broke up the potential winning conversion pass to give fifth-ranked Orange Lutheran a 30-29 home victory at Orange Coast College on Friday night over fourth-ranked JSerra.

“They came out in a weird funky formation and they switched to a 2 by 2,” McKinney said. “When they hiked the ball, I just saw play action to the left and I saw the flat route open up, so I just jumped it and made a play.”

After Robinson’s touchdown, JSerra (4-2, 0-1) initially sent out the field goal team, but Coach Jim Hartigan called time out. After the break, he sent the offense back on the field.

“We came here tonight to win,” Hartigan said. “Felt like we had a good play. It was open, looked like we were a little short, but we were going to be aggressive and end the thing.

“I just felt like taking a shot for the win, but obviously we fell short.”

Aggressive is a good way to describe Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen on what turned out to the game-tying drive.

Trailing by three, the Lancers (4-2, 1-0) thought they had a long touchdown pass for the go-ahead score, but Ryan Hilinski’s pass to Stan Berryhill was wiped out because of a holding penalty.

Later in the drive, on fourth-and-3 from the JSerra 14, Petersen kept kicker Logan Loya on the sideline and Hilinski connected with Berryhill for a 6-yard, first-down completion to the 8. On fourth –and-5 from the 5, Petersen sent Loya on to convert a 22-yaard field goal to tie the score at 23-23, forcing overtime.

“I felt like we had some momentum,” Petersen said of his fourth-down call. “I love the heart of our kids and the heart over there on the other side (of the field) was equal to it. This is one of those where you hate for somebody to have to walk away without a victory, but this was a great high school football game.”

In the overtime period, the Lancers had possession first from the 25. Dominik Austin opened the drive with 7-yard run and followed with a 16-yard run to the 2. After a penalty moved the ball to the 1, Hilinski went in on a sneak for the touchdown and with the extra point Orange Lutheran finally had the lead (30-23) it had been chasing since the second quarter.

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