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Two trick plays help JSerra top Los Alamitos
LONG BEACH – JSerra gave its Trinity League competitors a few more wrinkles to consider in the coming weeks.
The sixth-ranked Lions scored touchdowns on two trick plays, including one on fourth down late in the game, and showed emerging speedsters en route to a 45-35 nonleague victory against No. 11 Los Alamitos on Thursday at Veterans Stadium.
Wide receiver/running back Riley O’Brien tossed a 40-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Matt Robinson on a fourth-and-2 with 2:43 left in the fourth quarter to help lift the Lions (4-1) to a 45-28 lead.
O’Brien lined up at quarterback and Robinson split to receiver in a tight power-formation. The play loomed critical as Los Alamitos (3-2) responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass down the sideline from Hayden Smith to Taylor Kusch on the ensuing possession.
In the first half, O’Brien took a handoff from Robinson and threw it back to the passer for a 30-yard TD strike.
“We felt like we needed some big plays tonight,” JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said. “Obviously, they had some big plays, too.
“On film, they’ve done some things with a reverse and a double-reverse pass, so we felt we had to have those just in case we’re matching trick play for trick play.”
JSerra also showcased two sophomore wide receivers. Thomas Huff caught TD passes of 73 and 29 yards in the second half while Tarik Luckett made a leaping 19-yard touchdown grab in the first half.
The Lions’ defense made timely stops. O’Brien, a senior defensive back, dropped Dylan Laurent for a 7-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1 in the middle of the third quarter. Sophomore defensive lineman Victor Clanton recorded a key sack in the fourth quarter.
In addition to his two touchdown receptions, Robinson passed for 341 yards and four touchdowns.
Sophomore linebackers Shawn Nielsen and Cole Aubrey also were critical for JSerra. Los Alamitos’ Issaiah Johnson had two sacks.
JSerra used a late 30-yard field goal by Jake Haggard to lead at halftime, 24-21.
The opening half featured three ties and some wild scoring plays.
Laurent broke an 82-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter as Los Alamitos tied the score, 14-14. On the play, the speedy senior picked up a backward lateral from a scrambling Smith and cut back across the field en route to the end zone.
JSerra regained the lead, 21-14, later in the second period on its first trick play. O’Brien took a handoff from Robinson and threw a short pass back to Robinson for a 30-yard touchdown with 8:20 left in the first half.
The play arrived one play after the Lions’ defense pinned Los Alamitos deep in its territory and forced a short punt.
Laurent returned the ensuing kickoff for an apparent score but the play was negated by a holding penalty. But the Griffins drove 84 yards for a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Keanu Norman with 3:45 left. Los Alamitos converted twice on fourth down on the drive.
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