Hanour's switch leads to success

Ford Hanour and his sister Lauren Hanour come home around the same time after a high school football game.

Ford plays. Lauren cheers.

During the game, Lauren doesn't cheer for her brother. They perform on different fields.

Ford goes to Sage Hill School and Lauren attends Corona del Mar. This year, Lauren hasn't watched one of Ford's games because the game day schedules for their respective schools tend to conflict.

When their games end, they head home and find time to catch up.

"She's talking about her game and I'm talking about my game," Ford said. "It's just interesting."

Before last week, Lauren's had more to yak about this football season. The Sea Kings went into their game with a 5-1 record and ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Southern Division.

Ford's team had the opposite record. Sage Hill was on a five-game losing streak, the program's worst since 2008, Ford's freshman year.

Ford, a senior now, could have gone to CdM.

"It was basically between CdM [and] Sage. If I didn't get into Sage, I'd go to CdM," said Ford, who never looked back when Sage Hill accepted him. "I love Sage. I love the guys on the team. I've never really thought about [what it would've been like to play at CdM]."

Lauren won't ever get to be a cheerleader in one of Ford's games, but if she were at Sage Hill last week, the sophomore would've been dancing and waving those pom-poms a lot.

Cheerleaders get loud when someone scores a touchdown. Ford found the end zone twice, lifting the Lightning to a 29-28 victory against Crean Lutheran in an Academy League opener.

The win was Sage Hill's first since the season opener on Sept. 2. What is almost as impressive is how Ford scored each time.

Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends score touchdowns. Ford didn't play any of those positions against Crean Lutheran.

A new position led to Ford scoring two defensive touchdowns. It is safe to write that Ford is happy his coaching staff moved him from middle linebacker to defensive end.

For a team struggling to score points during its skid, Ford gave the Lightning a 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter. He intercepted a screen pass and returned it 25 yards for a pick six.

Ford gave the credit to his defensive line coach, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, a former NFL defensive end. Ford said he felt the play developing.

"You see the lineman release, just retrace and find the ball," Gbaja-Biamila told Ford before the game.

That is exactly what Ford did and the Lightning led a football game for the first time since Sept. 10.

They went into halftime up, 22-8, because of Ford. He recovered a fumble after David Fenner jarred the ball loose on a quarterback sack.

Seventy yards later, Ford was in the end zone, exhausted from such a long return. No one was catching the 6-foot, 210-pounder from behind.

"There were a couple of linemen chasing, but all the receivers were [out running routes] and the quarterback was on the ground," Ford said.

"Fenner made a great play, [blindsiding] the [quarterback]. [I was] basically in the right place at the right time."

The time now is for the Lightning (2-5) to keep the momentum heading into the final three regular-season games. They have a nonleague home against Animo Leadership of Inglewood on Friday at 7 p.m.

Ford said Sage Hill is not looking ahead, but the following week is a crucial league contest at rival St. Margaret's, the defending league champion. Despite Sage Hill having never beaten St. Margaret's in football, Ford is confident in the Lightning pulling off the win.

"Things are just coming together," Ford said.

The game at St. Margaret's falls on a Friday night, a free one for Lauren. Her school, CdM, plays on a Thursday that week.

Maybe Lauren will finally get to see and cheer Ford on from the stands this year.

*

Ford Hanour

Born: June 28, 1992

Hometown: Corona del Mar

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 210 pounds

Sport: Football

Position: Defensive end and offensive tackle

Coach: JR Tolver

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: "Step Brothers"

Favorite athletic moment: "Scoring two defensive touchdowns [last week]."

Week in review: Hanour returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown and returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown, helping the Lightning beat Crean Lutheran, 29-28, in an Academy League opener.

david.carrillo@latimes.com

Twitter: @DCPenaloza

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