After St. John Bosco’s Kristopher Hutson scored his second kickoff-return touchdown of the night — and the Braves’ third of the game overall — an Orange Lutheran fan deep in the stands cried out, “Kick it to me!” in hopes that the Lancers wouldn’t fall victim to another home-run play.
The advice came a couple of kicks too late, however, as the top-ranked and undefeated Braves defeated No. 7 Orange Lutheran 63-28 in a Trinity League home game Friday night, setting up a highly anticipated showdown with No. 2 Mater Dei next Friday night at Santa Ana Stadium.
Bosco (7-0, 2-0) broke a 21-21 tie late in the first half when Tyus Poyer took a pooched kickoff back 70 yards for a score with two seconds left in the second quarter, helping the Braves go ahead 28-21 at halftime.
Hutson opened the third quarter with his second kickoff-return touchdown of the game, a 93-yard burst up the middle to give St. John Bosco a two-score advantage and all the momentum it needed.
“Those were back-breakers,” Braves coach Jason Negro said. “[Hutson] is electric. He can hurt you in so many ways. He can catch the ball, he’s a great return man, and he’s just electrifying when he gets the ball in his hands.”
The 5-foot-11 junior didn’t limit his scoring opportunities to only kickoffs, though, as Hutson caught two passes for 35 yards, both resulting in third-quarter touchdowns from quarterback DJ Uiagalelei.
“On those kickoff returns, it just happened,” Hutson said. “We knew we had an advantage up the middle on special teams. That’s where we were aiming, and that’s where I went.”
The Lancers played St. John Bosco tough through the first half and into the third quarter, trailing by only a touchdown 35-28 after Ryan Hilinski hit Logan Loya for a 17-yard touchdown at the 7:48 mark of the period.
But that was the only touchdown Orange Lutheran (4-3, 1-1) scored in the second half as St. John Bosco defense dug in after a less-than-acceptable first-half effort carrying over from its struggles against JSerra a week prior.
“This league has really good players,” Negro said of the Braves’ defensive struggles. “They are going to score points and we have to make adjustments. We held them to seven points in the second half, and I was really pleased.”