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Laguna Hills powers its way past Santiago

Posted Saturday, November 29, 2008 by OC Register

Laguna Hills powers its way past Santiago

Browning scores four TDs as the Hawks advance to play Norwalk in the semifinals.


ANAHEIM - Laguna Hills wasted little time delivering the message to Santiago: no upset this week.

The Hawks scored on their first two possessions and carried a shutout late into the fourth quarter in a 41-7 victory over the Cavaliers in quarterfinal action of the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs Friday night at Glover Stadium.

Laguna Hills, the Pacific Coast League champs, improved to 11-0.

"We came out and took care of business right away," Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said. "The offense did a great job executing. Everything worked."

Santiago (9-3) finished third in the Garden Grove League and opened the playoffs with an upset of Orange Coast champ Costa Mesa, 13-10. It was the second postseason victory in school history.

The shot at No. 3 Friday night began with a three-and-out. Four plays later, Derek Browning scored from 2 yards and Laguna Hills led, 7-0.

The Cavaliers again took possession at their 20, but the Hawks forced another three-and-out.

Three plays later, Browning broke free for a 35-yard scoring run and the Hawks led, 13-0, with 5:53 to play.

Browning finished with four touchdowns on 14 carries for 98 yards.

"The offensive line came out and played real hard," Browning said. "We just shoved it at them, and the defense played a great game."

Laguna Hills' third drive stalled when Santiago's Paul Escamilla recovered a fumble inside the Cavaliers 20.

Escamilla was a bright spot for Santiago. He finished with 158 rushing yards on 31 carries and scored on a 9-yard run to make it 41-7 with 2:42 remaining in the game.

The Hawks defense has held eight opponents to nine points or less, but fell short of earning its second shutout.

"At that point the game is over," Ingalls said. "We wanted to play. That's what it's about. We can't afford to have any let up and the kids didn't let it happen."

Santiago had an opportunity to get back into the game after Escamilla's fumble recovery. The Cavaliers drove to the Hawks 36, but a fourth down pass fell incomplete.

Laguna Hills took over and quarterback Robert Refsynder connected with Ryan Ur on a 51-yard touchdown pass to increase the Hawks margin to 20-0 with 8:19 to play before the half.

Browning added a 1-yard scoring run before intermission to make it 27-0.

"In order to beat a team like Laguna, you have to bring your game," Santiago coach Aaron Shahrestani said. "We made a lot of mistakes. Laguna Hills is disciplined, and they have a lot of savvy athletes.

"To win a playoff game, I'm real proud of this team. They kept believing and working hard."

The Hawks face Norwalk in the semifinals next week.

"We treat every team the same," Browning said. "We came out and ran real hard, and we wore them down."

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