Lemmon scores, wins on his birthday

COSTA MESA — Richard Lemmon's teammates waited for the right time to wish him a happy birthday on Saturday.

Right after Lemmon converted a penalty kick, his Mariners Elementary School teammates yelled, "Happy birthday, Richard!"

Lemmon celebrated his special day with a goal and a big win at the 14th annual Daily Pilot Cup. His fifth- and sixth-grade boys' soccer team won its bronze division quarterfinal match against College Park, 5-0, at Costa Mesa High.

Mariners advanced to Sunday's semifinal round, where it plays Newport at noon. In three matches during the tournament, only one team has challenged Mariners.

On Friday, Mariners edged Paularino, 2-1. The next day, Mariners produced its second 5-0 shutout.

Mariners got two goals from Jake Orloff, and one goal apiece from Jack Rettig and Jasper Luque. Goalkeepers Braham Duncan and Trey Genova combined for the shutout, making a handful of saves.

"I'm very proud of these boys," Mariners Coach Michael Stark said. "They've just come together as a team. They all get along."

Mariners is made up of all fifth-graders, except for one player. That sixth-grader, Jonathan Stark, also happens to be the coach's son.

Jonathan could've played for one of Mariners' higher-level teams in the gold and silver divisions, but he wanted to play for his dad.

Dad is happy he did. Mariners has the talent, including Nick Silva, Jackson Sawall and Daniel Woods, to claim the bronze title.

Mariners is facing a Newport team that has outscored its three opponents, 14-0. Newport defeated Mariners Christian, 5-0, in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

"I think the Mariners bronze team two or three years ago went to the finals, but [it] didn't win it," Stark said. "We're looking forward to [the semifinals]. If the boys' spirits are into it, we're going to go all the way."

Stark promised Mariners pizza if it brings home the bronze crown. Mariners moved one step closer after it got past an undermanned College Park side.

College Park Coach Binso Cooper made the most of the low turnout this year.

"I am proud," said Cooper, who praised the efforts turned in by striker Brandon Borrayo, Donovan Crain, a keeper and defender, and midfielder Jared Kank.

"We didn't have enough time to practice. We had like two practices, but they gave me their best and that's all I can ask for."

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