One has to wonder just how good this Orange Lutheran football team would be if it didn't keep shooting itself in the foot.
The Lancers were good enough to beat Ontario Christian, 27-17, in an Olympic League showdown for first place, but four fumbles, an interception, several penalties and poor decisions made it frustrating Friday night at Brea Olinda High.
These are the same type of errors the Lancers (7-1, 3-0) have been making all season. With two regular-season games left, Coach Jim Kunau continues to be concerned.
"This is the third or fourth time we have seriously tried to beat ourselves and another time we did beat ourselves," he said.
There were no such dramatics Friday. The Lancer defense, led by linebacker Brad Vieselmeyer, recovered two fumbles and held one of the league's best rushers, Tony Giles, to only 13 yards in 16 carries.
And when Orange Lutheran fumbled at its 17-yard line late in the third quarter, it held off the Knights, blocking a 27-yard field goal attempt after Ontario Christian got as far as the Lancer 8.
Running back Travis Freeman carried 12 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Nick Odenath completed 10 of 14 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Derek VanderEyk put Ontario Christian (6-2, 2-1) on the scoreboard first with a 37-yard field goal with six minutes left in the first quarter.
Odenath retaliated, driving Orange Lutheran 68 yards in three plays with three passes, including a 30-yard scoring toss to Tim Smith.
Giles got the Knights back in front, 10-7, taking the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown. Giles finished with 146 yards in kick returns.
The Lancers got a 27-yard touchdown run by Freeman with six minutes to go in the half to regain the lead. Pat Sims scored from the two with 25 seconds left and Mike Crawford hauled in the two-point conversion pass from Odenath to put the Lancers up, 21-10.
But Ontario Christian quarterback Ben Goedhart tossed a 21-yard scoring pass to Douma with five seconds left.