ORANGE COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL / PREP EXTRA : DIVISION VIII : Late Interception Dooms Laguna Hills in 14-13 Loss
Laguna Hills kicker Kevin McCaffrey warmed up earnestly in the final minutes Friday, hoping for a chance to win the game for his teammates at The Diamond.
But his chance never came as Lake Elsinore Temescal Canyon got a late interception at its 10-yard line to hang on for a 14-13 victory over Laguna Hills in the second round of the Southern Section Division VIII playoffs.
McCaffrey was looking for a chance to make up for his missed extra-point attempt earlier in the quarter.
Laguna Hills dominated the second half, thanks mostly to sophomore running back Mike Jones, who had 238 yards in 42 carries.
The Hawks (10-2) finally scored when quarterback Cory Pardoe faked to Jones and raced 17 yards around the left end for a touchdown with 4 minutes 44 seconds left in the game.
Coach Steve Bresnahan said he considered going for two points but, because his team had controlled the line the entire game, declined.
“I thought we had an advantage if we went to overtime,” he said.
But Laguna Hills, the Pacific Coast League champion, never got to overtime.
McCaffrey’s extra-point try looked good but the goal posts at The Diamond, normally a baseball field, are temporary and shorter than most. That made it hard to judge things.
Although McCaffrey and some teammates were signaling that the kick was good, the officials didn’t agree.
“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Bresnahan said. “It only matters if it’s good to the guys the striped shirts.”
Laguna Hills got another chance when defensive lineman Jake Sortino recovered a fumble and took it five yards to the Temescal Canyon 45 with 2:44 left.
Laguna Hills got as close as the 21 but linebacker Greg Madalena intercepted Pardoe’s second-down pass at the 10 with 25 seconds left.
Temescal Canyon (11-1) took a 7-0 lead on the first play from scrimmage when quarterback Terry Hess threw a 68-yard pass play for a touchdown to wide receiver Ben Horton. Horton, who has 16 touchdown receptions this season, caught seven passes for 147 yards. He also saved a touchdown with an interception in the end zone in the third quarter.
Laguna Hills tied it, 7-7, when Jones scored from six yards out with 4:06 left in the first quarter.
Jones finished the season with 2,350 yards.
Hess broke the tie with a one-yard sneak with 4:16 left in the half.