Sage rides Ross

CERRITOS — Lightning can strike quickly out of the Wildcat formation.

Sage Hill School senior Taylor Ross proved it at Valley Christian High on Friday night.

Ross, normally a running back, had fun lining up in the quarterback position in the second half. Fairmont Prep had less fun trying to stop him.

Ross rushed for 250 yards and scored all three touchdowns to help lead the Lightning to a 20-13 nonleague victory in the season opener for both schools.

Coach J.R. Tolver said before the season a primary goal was to get Ross the ball. The Lightning did that, especially in the second half as they came back from a seven-point halftime deficit. First, it was Ross bursting up the middle out of the Wildcat for an 80-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to cut the Huskies' lead to 13-12.

Fairmont Prep's Brandon Warr took the ensuing kickoff all the way back to the Sage Hill 4-yard line.

But the Lightning defense held when quarterback Hunter Marston, an effective runner much of the night for the Huskies, tried to pitch the ball to a running back.

No one was there, though, and Sage defensive back Taylor Petty eventually pounced on the ball to give the Lightning the momentum right back.

Sage Hill added its final touchdown late in the third quarter, after an interception from Conner Ascher.

Ross again struck quickly out of the Wildcat from 34 yards out, running to the right and breaking a couple tackles to give the Lightning their first lead since the first quarter.

Ross again ran right for a successful conversion try, and Sage had a 20-13 lead.

The Lightning held onto the lead, even if they couldn't hold onto the ball after fumbling it back to Fairmont with 8:38 left in the game.

The Huskies got to the Sage 18-yard line, but on fourth-and-eight, Ascher arrived just at the right moment to knock the ball out of the receiver's grasp and cause a turnover on downs with 6:28 left.

The Lightning then ran out the clock behind more Wildcat running from Ross, as well as Eric Cheng.

A hard hit from Petty knocked Fairmont starting running back Alan Shim out of the game with a right leg injury midway through the first quarter.

Shim returned in the second half to gain 62 of his 86 yards, but the Lightning held the Huskies scoreless after the intermission.

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