Friday, December 5, 2008
Laguna Hills dominates on way to CIF title game
The Hawks rout Norwalk, 42-8, to stay undefeated and earn a shot at Southern Division crown.
LAGUNA HILLS - Laguna Hills was expected to do big things last year before getting bounced from the postseason in the first round by Cypress.
The Hawks used that defeat as fuel throughout the offseason and into the 2008 campaign.
That extra fuel helped the Hawks to their first undefeated record in the regular season and has carried them throughout the CIF-SS Southern Division playoffs.
Laguna Hills dominated Norwalk of the Suburban League en route to a 42-8 semifinal victory.
"It was a lot of hard work in the offseason, and a lot of heart from all the guys," said Hawks quarterback Robert Refsnyder, who scored four rushing touchdowns. "It feels great to get there and exceed all the expectations.
"That (losing to Cypress last season) was our driving motivation all year."
Laguna Hills will play the winner of the Mayfair of Lakewood-Corona del Mar game, which will be played Saturday (7 p.m.) at Newport Harbor High, in the Southern Division championship game next Friday at a site to be determined.
It will be the Hawks' first appearance in a championship game since they beat La Mirada in 1997.
Laguna Hills (12-0) held Norwalk, which had been averaging 370 rushing yards per game, to 142 yards of total offense, and 91 of those yards came in the final minute against Laguna Hills' second- and third-stringers.
The Hawks forced three turnovers, blocked two punts and had one interception.
A.J. Martin had both of those blocked punts for Laguna Hills. His first one was recovered by Austin Dimmler, who tip-toed along the sidelines for a 2-yard return and the Hawks' first touchdown of the game with 4:01 left in the first quarter.
The Hawks stopped the Lancers (8-5) on fourth-and-3 at Norwalk's 28 and took over on downs. On the ensuing play, Refsnyder went straight up the middle untouched for a 28-yard touchdown to give Laguna Hills a 14-0 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.
Refsnyder added touchdown runs of 4 and 14 yards in the second quarter and the Hawks had a 28-0 advantage at the half.
Norwalk's vaunted wing-T offense managed a mere 23 yards and two first downs in the first half. Laguna Hills stuffed everything up the middle and was able to stretch out the Lancers speedy backs and keep them from making any big gains on the outside.
Norwalk attempted five passes for the entire game and all went incomplete. Laguna Hills'Shawn Tucker picked off one of those passes.
"I mean, all our guys just played real well," Refsnyder said. "There is no special guy on offense or defense. It's a real team and we take pride in that. It's just a lot of fun to play with all these guys."
Refsnyder, who had six carries for 70 yards, had a 12-yard touchdown run and Ryan Ur had a 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown in third quarter as the Hawks pushed their advantage to 42-0.
"Our kids definitely stepped up to the challenge in all facets of the game," Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said.
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