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Laguna Hills hands San Juan Hills its first loss

FOR OCVARSITY.COM

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO - San Juan Hills might be improving leaps and bounds with its win-loss record this season, but the program still has some work to do to catch up to Laguna Hills.

On Friday at San Juan Hills, No. 23 Laguna Hills defeated San Juan Hills in the teams’ Sea View League opener, 23-14, to hand the Stallions their first loss of the season. It was the Hawks’ fourth consecutive victory against the Stallions.

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Laguna Hills (4-2) struck early and never surrendered control of the game. On the second play from scrimmage, Hawks quarterback Kevin Cunningham connected with Will King on a 57-yard pass for a touchdown to give Laguna Hills a 7-0 lead with 11:05 left in the quarter.

“We came out and knew their safeties played really far up, and they knew we like to run the ball,” Cunningham said. “So we knew we were going to come out early in the drive and throw a deep post and it worked.”

The Hawks relied on stout defense and a solid kicking game to maintain the lead for the rest of the half. Jayson Rivera had three first-quarter sacks and Derek Perez added two field goals to give Laguna Hills a 13-0 lead at the break.

After Cunningham threw a touchdown pass in the third quarter to Austin Roberts to give the Hawks a 20-0 lead, it seemed as if the game was over. But the Stallions (6-1) scored two touchdowns in the span of four minutes in the fourth quarter to crawl within six points, 20-14 of Laguna Hills.

All hopes of a San Juan Hills rally were crushed when the Hawks went on a 13-play drive in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter. The march ended with another Perez field goal, which made the score 23-14.

Laguna Hills won the game with Coach Bruce Ingalls watching on the sideline from a wheelchair. Ingalls had hip-replacement surgery last Friday and didn’t see his team until the game.

“Obviously it’s what you want to do,” Ingalls said about winning on the road. “I didn’t have anything to do with this. It’s all on the players and the coaches who prepared them all week. This wasn’t about me, I just showed up at the game.”


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