Friday, December 5, 2008
Laguna Hills defense continues stingy postseason
The Hawks' unit allows average of eight points per game in three playoff wins.
LAGUNA HILLS – If defense is indeed the most vital component in winning a championship, the Laguna Hills Hawks have every right to feel confident about their chances for a CIF Southern Division championship.
One of the county's stingiest defensive teams was on full display in the semifinals of the CIF Southern Division playoffs, as the Hawks cruised to a dominant 42-8 victory over Norwalk on Friday night at Laguna Hills High.
"This effort was a tribute to the character of our kids," Hawks coach Bruce Ingalls said. "They accepted the challenge of wanting to stop this team."
In the final, Laguna Hills will face the winner of Saturday's Mayfair-Corona del Mar semifinal game.
The Hawks, who entered the game allowing only eight points a game in their previous two playoff wins, controlled the Lancers' wing-T offense.
Their defensive line continually broke through the middle of the Lancers' offensive line, disrupting blocking schemes and shutting down running lanes. Norwalk managed only 23 total yards and two first downs in the first half.
For the game, the Lancers failed to complete a pass, as their quarterbacks went a combined 0 for 5 with an interception. The Hawks forced three turnovers in the game, two that were returned for touchdowns. Only a 91-yard touchdown drive by the Lancers in the final minute prevented a shutout.
Senior A.J. Martin, whose first of two blocked punts was returned for the opening score of the game, acknowledged he was confident about his chances of exploiting the Lancers' wing-T offensive formation.
"They didn't have any wide receivers, so I saw a hole in the line and just went for it," said Martin. "This win helps our confidence and we just have to continue to try and improve both on offense and defense."
Sophomore Ryan Ur, whose 46-yard fumble return for a touchdown put the final points on the board for the Hawks, credited his coaches for the success of the defense.
"We work hard every day and our coaches are putting us in the right positions," he said. "Everything flowed the way we wanted it to."
Ingalls insists that the Hawks will continue to stick their strengths as they attempt to win their first divisional championship since 1997.
"This team just does what is necessary to win football games," said Ingalls.