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Anaheim Katella quarterback Ethan Haller led the Southland with an average of 297.2 yards passing per game and was tied for the lead with 19 touchdowns going into Friday's Empire League game against Orange Lutheran.
But Haller, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior, had never seen anything quite like the Lancers' defense, which anchored a 55-0 victory and lowered its points-allowed average to 6.8 per game.
"They're good all-around," said Haller, who completed 16 of 36 passes, with 142 of his 200 yards coming on four completions. "They're a lot faster than you see on film
a lot faster
Haller had four passes intercepted, two of which were returned for touchdowns.
"He's a really excellent quarterback," Orange Lutheran Coach Jim Kunau said of Haller. "We knew they'd get some yards in the air, but we thought we could make some plays too."
Eagle Is Grounded
Santa Margarita played Friday without its starting quarterback, Michael Angelo, who was benched Friday for missing a mandatory church Mass before school earlier in the week.
The Eagles, ranked No. 14 by The Times, were upset by No. 19 Bellflower St. John Bosco, 22-0, in a Serra League game.
Angelo, a passing and running threat, stood on the Eagles' sideline, in uniform, the entire game.
"I arrived five minutes late [to Mass], but I didn't want to walk in," said Angelo, who had been benched for a quarter earlier in the season for missing a Monday practice. "I should have."
As for the decision by first-year Coach Mike Jacot to follow school rules rather than seeking a lighter penalty, Angelo offered a mature response.
"I think it speaks well of the program," said the senior, who has rushed for 464 yards and six touchdowns and passed for six more.
"Obviously it's harsh, but it's team policy, and no matter who you are, the rule shouldn't vary based on what role you have on the team."
His replacement Friday was senior Ryan Neinhuis, who completed two of eight passes for 11 yards with an interception.
Said Angelo: "It will never happen again."
Los Alamitos Coach John Barnes wanted to see an emotional team on Friday night, but not on the other side of the field.
Fountain Valley, then-ranked No. 17, beat previously No. 1 Los Alamitos, 21-16, by taking advantage of seven turnovers and getting big performances from Ryan Best, Kyle Feiler and Kevin Gerard.
"The last few weeks, we've been pretty flat," Barnes said before Friday's game, no doubt referring to the Griffins' 28-21 come-from-behind victory over Huntington Beach Edison.
Eric Johnson, Fountain Valley's coach, noticed too: "I was hoping they wouldn't come in [fired up] because I thought we had a good shot at them."