WHITTIER – The Whittier Christian defense could not stop in the Valley Christian offense in the first. The second half was a different story as the defense came up with three consecutive stops that keyed a 44-38 victory over the Crusaders in an Olympic League game on Friday night at Whittier College.

The Crusaders scored on their first five possessions of the game and took a 31-22 lead early in the third quarter. The defense behind Kyle Lackey, who finished with 1½ sacks and two tackles for loss, then stopped the Crusaders on a fake punt, forced a punt and then held on a 4th down try.

The Heralds (6-4, 2-2) defense gave the offense a chance and they took it. Justin Osborn scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put the Heralds up 44-31 and they held on from there.

Osborn finished with a team-high 167 yards receiving and 94 yards rushing and added an 82 yard touchdown reception. Cade Mcgee added 7 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

The Heralds stayed in the game in the first half behind the passing of quarterback Quinn Commans, who threw for 343 yards and trhee touchdowns and added a 1-yard scoring run on a fourth-and-goal play that cut the Crusaders (6-3, 1-2) lead to 31-30.

Commans completed 10 of 12 passes in the first half for 239 yards that saw the see saw the Crusaders take a 25-22 lead at the half.

Running back Malachi Meeks led the Crusaders’ offense with 315 yards on 43 carries to go along with five rushing touchdowns.

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