IRVINE – University used a solid defensive effort and two field goals by Nick Loveland to defeat Irvine, 13-8, in a Pacific Coast League game Friday night at University.

Loveland kicked a 26-yard field goal with 4:27 left in the third quarter to put the Trojans ahead, 10-8. He kicked a 19-yarder with 4:56 remaining in the game to give the Trojans (7-2, 2-2) a five-point cushion.

Irvine (2-6-1, 1-3) drove to the University 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter but Josiah Henry intercepted a pass on a second down play to end the threat.

The Trojans then held Irvine scoreless the rest of the way to improve University’s chances of advancing to the CIF playoffs.

“They fought us the whole game,” University coach Mark Cunningham said of Irvine. “It’s a great tribute to the kids there and to the coaches. I’m very happy with the win. Either team could have won this. I’m really happy for our kids; our defense played very well and our offense played well when they needed to.”

University got a strong performance from running back Sam Winder, who rushed for 171 yards on 16 carries.

Irvine took the opening lead when QB Robert Rahimi scored on a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. The Vaqueros moved out to an 8-0 lead when Ethan Shank ran for a 2-point conversion.

University cut the lead to 8-7 when quarterback Thomas Keeling connected with Farbod Memarian on an 8-yard TD pass.

“One thing we talked about this week was about grit,” said Irvine Coach Erik Terry. “Being able to get up and face challenges, that’s what we’ve done all season. That’s a credit to our football team. We don’t have quit in us.”

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