ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL / PREP EXTRA : Westminster Takes Over Third Place by Beating Saddleback


Westminster’s slight defensive adjustment made at halftime was the big difference in the second half as the Lions beat Saddleback, 41-28, in a Golden West League game Friday at Santa Ana Stadium.

Saddleback scored on all four first-half possessions and led at the break, 28-21.

But Westminster’s defense shut out the Roadrunners in the second half to take over third place in the league with one game left. The Lions play host to last-place Santa Ana Thursday.

“Our defensive coaches told our linebackers to start making their reads,” Westminster Coach Stan Clark said. “For some reason in the first half they weren’t. As soon as they did, it was a whole different situation.”


Westminster (5-4, 2-2 in league) took its first lead early in the fourth quarter in an odd way.

Saddleback’s Joseph Meza attempted a 42-yard field goal but the kick was partly blocked by the center of the line and deflected into the right flat.

Ralph Flores caught the ball and raced 83 yards for a touchdown that put Westminster ahead, 33-28, with 11 minutes 36 seconds left to play.

The final score came when wide receiver David Kurien and quarterback Manuel Tapia combined on a 59-yard pass play for a touchdown with 9:06 left.

The pair also combined on 81 and 46-yard pass plays for touchdowns in the first half. Tapia was 10 of 15 for 262 yards and Kurien caught five passes for 208 yards.

Tapia also had an interception and kicked three extra points.

Quarterback Daniel Rodriguez had an impressive first half for Saddleback (2-6-1, 1-2-1), running for two touchdowns and throwing for another.

He was six of seven for 125 yards in the half, but finished 12 of 23 for 163 yards with two interceptions.

Joseph Tagaloa also had a strong first half for Saddleback. He rushed for 81 yards, including a 56-yard scoring run in which he reversed field and outran the Westminster defense.