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KEVIN SULLIVAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Segerstrom celebrates it's 41-38 overtime victory over Westminster on Thursday night.

Segerstrom takes title in overtime thriller

STAFF WRITER

WESTMINSTER – Gabriel Lopez powered his way into the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run in overtime to give Segerstrom a 41-38 win over Westminster and the Golden West League championship.

The teams went into the game tied for first place. The win finished an undefeated, 5-0 run through league for the Jaguars and got them their second league championship in three years, having won the Golden West title in 2013. They will take a 7-2-1 overall record into the CIF-Southern Section Southern Division playoffs.

Westminster is 8-2 and goes into the Southern Division playoffs as the Golden West’s No. 2 playoff representative.

(Playoff brackets will be released Sunday and will be available at ocvarsity.com upon release.)

It was 28-28 at the end of regulation. In overtime, Segerstrom scored first on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Marcos Avalos to Christopher Ferman for a 35-28 lead. That was the first play after a long injury delay. Segerstrom’s Gus Guerrero was injured on an incomplete pass and was taken away by ambulance.

Update: Guerrero was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center because he had lost feeling in a leg. Segerstrom athletic director and football assistant coach Nick Canzone this morning said via text message tht he had visited Guerrero late last night and that Guerrero was able to move his fingers and toes and had regained feeling in the leg. An MRI would be conducted today just to make sure all is well. Doctors said Guerrero was expected to have a full recovery.

Westminster tied it, 35-35, on a 21-yard touchdown by Josh Avila. Westminster took a 38-35 lead on a 28-yard field goal by Tommy Casares.

Segerstrom then got the ball back and won the game on Lopez’ touchdown run. The drive was kept alive by a Westminster offsides penalty on fourth-and-1 at the Westminster 4-yard line.

It was 14-14 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Segerstrom’s Abel Diaz scored on a 3-yard run for a 21-14 Jaguars lead. Westminster tied it on Michael Gurrola’s short touchdown run later in the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Avalos scored on a 1-yard run for a brief Segerstrom lead before Westminster quarterback Matt Dinh scored on a 5-yard run for the 28-28 tie.

On the game-opening drive, Segerstrom took the lead when Lopez scored on a 4-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead. A fourth-down, fake-punt pass from Guerrero to JC Caravez for 12 yards and a first down kept the drive going.

Westminster tied it later in the first quarter on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Dinh to Isayah Anderson, with Anderson making a fine running, over-the-shoulder catch at the Segerstrom 25 then taking it into the end zone from there to make it 14-14.

The Jaguars regained the lead, 14-7, on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Avalos to George Ortega early in the early moments of the second quarter.

Westminster tied it again quickly. After Anderson turned a short pass into a 50-yard gain, Avila scored on a 30-yard run to make it 14-14. That score would stand until the third quarter quarter.

Segerstrom’s Diaz rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown. Avila finished with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Jaguars players made several clutch plays during the course of the game that was as evenly-matched as the teams' records would suggest. Among them: Eddie Sanchez made a second-quarter interception in Segerstrom territory; and Qyren Macias recovered a fumble on the second half-opening kickoff and returned it to the Westminster 3, setting up the Diaz touchdown run that gave the Jags the 21-14 lead.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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