After starting the season with two losses, Orange Lutheran Coach Jim Kunau said his team needed momentum before entering Olympic League play in two weeks. The first-year coach got his wish as the Lancers scored 21 points in the first half and posted a strong defensive effort to defeat Laguna Beach, 28-14, Saturday at Orange Lutheran.
The Lancers (1-2) spotted Laguna Beach a 7-0 first-quarter lead, but stormed back with three consecutive touchdowns. Quarterback Joe Juliano's one-yard run tied the score, 7-7, with 5 minutes 33 seconds left in the first quarter.
Reserve running back Matt Stratton, playing for starter David Hwang who was injured in the first quarter, paced the Lancer offense, rushing for 92 yards in 12 carries. The junior gave the Lancers the lead for good with a 36-yard run up the middle midway through the second quarter.
Tom Pannell's 14-yard touchdown pass from Juliano in the second quarter made it 21-7 at halftime. The Lancers struck early in the second half, as Dan Young returned the kickoff 90 yards, making the score 28-7, 15 seconds in the third quarter.
Laguna Beach (1-2) cut the lead to 28-14 on Garrett Chesley's five-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. The Artists threatened three times in the fourth quarter, moving the ball deep into Lancer territory, but Orange Lutheran's defense forced turnovers on both possessions.
"We teach our guys to fly to the ball," Kunau said. "We were hitting pretty hard today and our defense did a fantastic job."
The Lancers forced five turnovers, four fumbles and an interception at the goal line.
Laguna Beach quarterback Pat Wood paced the Artist attack, rushing for 97 yards and completing 12 of 17 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown. Wood was forced to leave the game late in the fourth quarter when he was sacked from behind by two Lancer linemen.