Fourth-quarter scores doom Crean Lutheran


IRVINE – Crean Lutheran has set a goal to compete with the tough teams in its preleague schedule and, despite much adversity, did so for the majority of its nonleague game against Mission Prep.

However, the Saints couldn’t match Mission Prep’s power in the fourth quarter. The Royals scored three touchdowns in the final 6:33 to take a 35-14 nonleague victory Thursday at Irvine High.

Without quarterback Gavin Folsom for more than 10 minutes spanning the second and third quarters, the Saints relied on Garrett Cox and Nick Ellwein. Cox carried the Saints (1-2) with 98 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. His second touchdown tied the score at 14-14 in the third quarter. Defensively, he contributed three tackles for loss.

“He’s a beast,” Crean Lutheran coach Brett Mertens said. “He’s hurt too. I’m real proud of him.”

Mission Prep (2-0) gained momentum midway through the fourth quarter when Patrick Miller recovered a fumbled snap on a punt and returned it to the Saints’ 5-yard line.

Three plays later, quarterback Bryce Fledderman scored on a 1-yard plunge. Running back Brayden Corona added TD runs of 34 and 78 yards during the final four minutes to put the game out of reach.

The Saints lost Folsom to a leg injury midway through the second quarter and the offense stalled until his return. His 27-yard pass to Cox ultimately set up the tying score before the Royals’ big fourth quarter.

“We knew it would be a tough test, but I’m proud of their fight,” Mertens said. “That’s why we scheduled these tough teams, we want the fight and even though we didn’t get the win, we’re proving we belong out here.”

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