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JSerra ends Orange Lutheran's hopes
MISSION VIEJO - The scenario was simple for No. 7 Orange Lutheran.
The Lancers needed a victory in the Trinity League finale to have any chance of earning an at-large berth into the Pac-5 playoffs.
Casey Eugenio and the JSerra Lions emphatically made sure they didn’t get it.
Eugenio rushed for 126 yards and scored three touchdowns, as the Lions routed the Lancers, 41-6, Friday at Saddleback College.
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“Our coaches really prepared us for this game, and we came out here and played well,” Eugenio said.
JSerra (6-4, 1-4) has won three league games since they entered the Trinity League in 2006. Two of those victories have now come against Orange Lutheran, which JSerra defeated, 31-14, in last season’s meeting.
The Lions accumulated 434 total yards and tied a season-high in points en route to ending a four-game losing streak, which included back-to-back shutout losses to Servite and Santa Margarita.
“We had a great week of practice, and the kids focused on the game plan, particularly on defense,” Lions coach Jim Hartigan said. “We opened up the offense a bit and gave a couple of different looks that gave us some running lanes. I was proud of how we played tonight.”
After both team punted on their first possessions of the game, JSerra took a 7-0 lead near the midway point of the first quarter. On second down from Lions’ 12-yard line, sophomore quarterback Nick Robinson threw a short swing pass to junior Dante Pettis in the flat. Pettis side-stepped a tackler, broke free, and raced down the sideline for an 88-yard touchdown.
JSerra’s defense continued to stifle the Lancers offensive attack early, forcing three punts on Orange Lutheran’s first three possessions.
The Lions’ lead increased to 14-0 late in the first quarter, as sophomore Ethan Aguayo capped an eight-play, 51-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Aguayo was stopped initially behind the line of scrimmage but struggled free of a tackle attempt and fought his way into the end zone.
Orange Lutheran (6-4; 1-4) appeared to catch a break early in the second quarter.
Robinson broke free on a quarterback scramble and appeared headed into the end zone. But he was hit at the Lancers’ 2-yard line and fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback.
The Lancers drove from their 20 to the Lions’ 20, but quarterback Luke Langdon had a pass intercepted by Pettis in the end zone to end the scoring threat.
Seven plays later, Eugenio scored from 5 yards out to give JSerra a 21-0 lead.
Orange Lutheran cut the margin to 21-6 less than four minutes into the half, as senior Tavi Jimmerson broke loose for a 40-yard touchdown run.
Jimmerson was the lone bright spot for the Lancers, as he bulldozed his way for 111 yards on 16 carries.
But JSerra answered on their ensuing drive. A 54-yard run by Robinson and a personal foul penalty on the Lancers helped set up a one-yard dive into the end zone by Eugenio on fourth and goal to make it 28-6.
Eugenio would put the game away on the final play of the third quarter, as he found a seam in the middle of the field and sprinted 68 yards for a touchdown.
“My coach told me to watch the backside lineman and look for the cut back,” Eugenio said. “It was there and I just hit it and was gone.”
A 36-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Aguayo closed out the scoring. Robinson completed all five passes he threw for 155 yards. He also rushed for 113 yards on seven carries.
“They just took it to us,” Lancers coach Chuck Peterson said. “Our kids never quit and they kept fighting. There is a strong work ethic that this team has developed and we just have to remember how we feel now and get ready to work next season.”