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Orange Lutheran beats Servite on frantic late drive
NORWALK – A possible 0-2 start is not a place any team wants to be in the competitive Trinity League.
Third-ranked Orange Lutheran walked the thin line and nearly fell into that situation about three times and that was just on the final drive of Friday’s game against sixth-ranked Servite.
With no timeouts remaining and the clock ticking, the Lancers fumbled the handoff on second-and-goal from the 1 but alertly recovered. On the next play, with four seconds left, quarterback Lj Northington took the snap and pitched it to Markell Quinn who raced in for a touchdown to give the visiting Lancers a 37-36 victory over sixth-ranked Servite at Cerritos College.
POSTGAME TALK: How Orange Lutheran was able to survive against Servite
“There was no other choice,” Northington said. “That’s what you dream of as a little kid. You lay in bed dreaming of nights like this. We came out and played with pride, everybody did what they had to do.
“We knew coming that this was a must-win. Servite is always going to play a great game, I respect those guys a lot, but I think we just came together and knew we had to get it done and we did.”
After the fumble recovery, Northington and the Lancers (4-3, 1-1) were racing to spike the ball, but Servite (3-4, 1-1) was flagged for offside, stopping the clock with four seconds left. With the Servite defense expecting a Northington sneak, the toss to Quinn worked perfectly.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever worked a last play of the game, no timeout drill from the 1-yard line before,” Orange Lutheran coach Chuck Petersen said. “Credit to our kids, they found a way.”
In the previous two seasons, games against Servite have ended in disappointment for Petersen and the Lancers. Last year, they suffered a 28-25 loss and in 2013, they lost 20-19.
Northington, Austin and Quinn combined for five rushing touchdowns for the Lancers.
The game was back-and-forth all night and the Friars thought they had the final say when Aaron Simpson scored from the 1 for a 36-31 lead with 3:04 left in the game. The Friars went for two, but Simpson’s pass to Ryan Melvin was broken up in the end zone.
Orange Lutheran started its eventual winning drive from the Servite 48 after a short kickoff was followed by a personal-foul penalty on Servite.
The game was tied entering the fourth quarter, 24-24. Xavier Hernandez gave the Friars a 30-24 lead with 11-yard touchdown run early in the fourth. The Lancers responded with a quick drive that was capped with his 2-yard touchdown for a 31-30 lead.
Servite quarterback Aaron Simpson then engineered an eight-play, 80-yard drive, to give the Friars the lead again, setting the stage for the last drive drama.
Simpson completed 19 of 26 passes for 259 yards. He rushed for two touchdowns. Jackson Taylor also rushed for two scores for the Friars.
“Right to the clock hit zero, both teams just battled and battled,” Servite coach Scott Meyer said. “I’m proud of our effort. We did everything we could to win.”
The Lancers host Santa Margarita next week at Orange Coast College, while Servite faces Mater Dei at Angel Stadium.
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