“Oh my God.”
That was the reaction of an overwhelmed Orange Lutheran player mumbling to himself after the Lancers pulled off the shocker of the opening round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Friday night, beating Mission League champion and No. 4-seeded Chaminade 28-25 in West Hills.
Orange Lutheran finished in last place in the Trinity League.
“It’s the toughest league in the country,” Orange Lutheran quarterback Ryan Hilinski said. “We know there’s amazing players and great teams. We went 0-5 but we’re going 5-0” in the playoffs.
Hilinski, a 6-foot-3 junior whose brothers Kelly and Tyler were standout high school quarterbacks, is producing his own legacy. He completed 28 of 40 passes Friday for 355 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. He helped engineer the strategy that Chaminade (9-2) could never overcome: Control the clock and risk everything by going for it on fourth down.
Eight times the Lancers went for it on fourth down. Twice they scored touchdowns and four other times picked up first downs.
“These kids believe in each other,” Coach J.P. Presley said. “They’ve been through so much adversity, and to say, ‘Hey coach, we’ve got it,’ that’s what they just did.”
After holding a 6-3 halftime lead on the strength of a 22-yard touchdown catch by Joshua Jackson, Orange Lutheran (6-5) finally faced the wrath of the Eagles. Standout receiver Michael Wilson, who caught seven passes for 150 yards, caught a 48-yard touchdown pass on the opening possession of the third quarter for a 10-6 Chaminade lead.
But the Lancers quickly retook the lead on a Zach Brogden three-yard touchdown run. Kyle Ford, who caught seven passes for 129 yards, had a 62-yard reception on the drive.
Then Orange Lutheran took charge, opening a 28-10 lead on touchdown catches of 45 and five yards by Logan Loya.
Wilson caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Stevens at the end of the third quarter, and the Eagles got a two-point conversion to close to 28-18. Then Mac Griffin caught a 14-yard touchdown pass with 7:18 left, pulling Chaminade to within three.
But Orange Lutheran’s surprisingly effective ground game hurt Chaminade, led by Reginald Strong’s 91 yards rushing. The Lancers clinched the victory with just over a minute left when Drew Ramirez came up with his second interception of Stevens, who finished with 260 yards passing.
Bol Bol leaves Mater Dei
In a major development in high school basketball, 7-foot-2 Bol Bol has left Santa Ana Mater Dei and is expected to enroll at Findlay Prep in Nevada, Coach Gary McKnight told the Orange County Register.
With Bol Bol, Mater Dei was expected to be the No. 1 preseason team in the state. He helped the Monarchs reach the Southern Section Open Division championship game last season after arriving from Kansas last January.