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The Hawks win, 20-13, to remain undefeated!

Posted Friday, November 07, 2008 by OC Register

Laguna Hills holds off Irvine to go 9-0

The Hawks win, 20-13, to remain undefeated.


IRVINE - Laguna Hills made some school history Thursday.

The Hawks beat Irvine, 20-13, to finish a varsity football regular season undefeated for the first time since Laguna Hills opened in 1978.

They also clinched the Pacific Coast League championship. It was the final game of this regular season for Laguna Hills (9-0, 4-0). 

The Hawks have a bye next week, the final week of the regular season, and likely will be the top-seeded team in the Southern Division when the CIF-Southern Section playoffs begin in two weeks. Laguna Hills was the No. 1 team in this week’s Southern Division rankings. Playoff seedings and first-round pairings will be announced Nov. 16.

There are several playoff scenarios that cover Irvine (6-3, 1-2), Corona del Mar (2-1 in league, with a bye this week) and Beckman and University, both of which are 0-2 in league and play each other tonight. The top three finishers in the five-team Pacific Coast League will go to the playoffs. With no at-large berth in the Southern Division, the league’s Nos. 4 and 5 teams will not be in the playoffs.

Laguna Hills was the Southern Division’s No. 2 seed last year but was beaten in the first round by eventual champion Cypress. It won CIF football championships in 1991 and ’97.
Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls likes the mental makeup of this year’s team.

“These are good-character kids,” he said. “They work hard, and they play hard.”

Laguna Hills took an early 13-point lead, Irvine rallied to tie it, Laguna Hills scored the second-half’s only points and shut out Irvine over the final two quarters.

The Hawks built a 13-0 lead, scoring first on a 2-yard run by fullback Tyler Perkins in the first quarter and in the second quarter on a 20-yard run by quarterback Robert Refsnyder. 

Irvine rallied in that second quarter. The Vaqueros scored on an 11-yard screen pass from quarterback Allen Merritt to running back Tra’shon Young to make it 13-7.

In the half’s final moments, a great catch by Irvine’s Chris Del Carlo, who pulled the ball over and away from two Laguna Hills defenders between him and Merritt, was good for 33 yards.

The Vaqueros tied it on a 26-yard touchdown catch by Jake Day, who leaned across the sideline in the end zone and kept his feet inbounds.

The only points of the second half came when the Hawks’ Ryan Ur returned an interception from the Laguna Hills 37-yard line to the Irvine 31. A few plays later, Derek Browning’s 15-yard touchdown run with 6:01 left in the third quarter provided the winning points.

Irvine got the ball three more times but could get only one first down. The Vaqueros’ deepest penetration of the half was to its own 46.

Laguna Hills ran out the clock, from 4:59 to the final gun. Starting from their 15, the Hawks collected four first downs until time expired. 

“Our offensive line shoved it through,” said Refsnyder, the league’s player of the year last season as a receiver who moved to quarterback this year.

Ingalls is not concerned that having a bye next week, the week before the playoffs begin, will be detrimental. Being in a five-team league, a bye some time in the latter weeks has been a regular situation.

“We’ve done very well with it,” said Ingalls, not concerned by the bye slowing his team’s momentum. “We’ve played very well the week after the bye.”

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com

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