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Friday, November 23, 2007

Orange Lutheran keeps repeat title bid alive

Orange Lutheran advances with a good defensive effort and solid play from Hyepock and Pemasa.

COSTA MESA Orange Lutheran moved a step closer to repeating as the CIF-SS Pac-5 Division champion with a 28-16 victory over Edison in the quarterfinals on Friday night in front of 8,500 at Orange Coast College.

It was the second consecutive year the Lancers (10-1) eliminated the Chargers (8-4) from the playoffs. Orange Lutheran beat Edison in last year's Pac-5 championship game and went on to win the Division II state title.

"It's more remembering the players like a Nick Crissman, who is so tough, and (Areseo) Lakey, who is such a great running back and great playmaker," Orange Lutheran coach Jim Kunau said. "No. 9 (Michael Bogard) is such a great safety, I mean, there were so many great players coming back. And (Edison coach) Dave White is one of the greatest coaches, bar none, on the West Coast, forget about Orange County — on the West Coast."

The fourth-seeded Lancers will meet top-seeded Long Beach Poly, a 35-14 winner over Newport Harbor, as part of a Pac-5 semifinals doubleheader next Friday at The Home Depot Center.

"There are all kinds of vision comments that they make about TVs, ‘Panavision' or whatever," Kunau said. "With Poly it's '‘Blur-vision.' It is just one fast green phalanx. We know how fast they are. We know how good they are."

Orange Lutheran's game against Edison started as a wild shootout. Sophomore sensation Exavier Edwards returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Orange Lutheran's Dane DiPalma decked the Edison kicker at the 20-yard line to allow Edwards to make it all the way to the end zone.

But the Chargers didn't let the opening play rattle them. On their fourth play from scrimmage, UCLA-bound Crissman found Lakey on a screen pass and Lakey streaked 65 yards for the tying touchdown.

Two plays later, Wade Huston recovered an Edwards fumble at the Lancers' 30.

Crissman got great pass protection and found Leener wide open in the end zone for a 17-yard scoring pass. The Chargers missed the extra-point attempt, but they had a 13-7 lead a little more than 4 minutes into the game.

"Today it was a really good game," Lancers running back/linebacker Ricky Pemasa said. "Both teams were tough and came out, competed and got after it tonight."

The Lancers responded with two touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-13 lead at the half.

Lancers quarterback Blake Hyepock scored on an 8-yard keeper and Pemasa scored on a 2-yard run to cap a nine-play, 85-yard drive just before the half ended.

Crissman had a fine game for the Chargers, completing 20 of 32 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

He was able to put up those numbers despite a tremendous pass rush by the Lancers. Pemasa got three of Orange Lutheran's four sacks.

Pemasa also had 88 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries.

"Ricky is a great competitor," Kunau said. "He's like a whirling dervish out there at running back. It's tough to bring him down.

"He's such a competitor and God has gifted him natural ability."

USC-bound tight end Blake Ayles had two catches for 34 yards for the Lancers.

Both catches helped the Lancers convert on third down and keep scoring drives alive.

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