Senior Kerry Reed made his first start at running back Thursday, and rushed for 194 yards in 20 carries and 3 touchdowns to lead Orange High School to a 38-22 victory over Costa Mesa in Orange's Fred Kelly Stadium.
The victory put the Panthers (4-1, 6-4) in the Southern Section playoffs for the first time since 1972, and Orange could win the Pacific Coast League championship should Woodbridge defeat Laguna Beach tonight.
"I knew Orange could be a winner," first-year Coach Mark McMahon said. "I knew there was some talent here, that's why I took the job."
Reed had been playing defensive back most of the season, but McMahon decided to move him to tailback because of his speed and to take some of the pressure off senior Paul Maund, who had done most of the rushing this season.
Maund also had an outstanding game, gaining for 150 yards in 25 carries and a touchdown. The senior has set a single-season school rushing record of 1,219 yards in 183 carries.
The Panthers gained 386 yards rushing as quarterback Mike Stock threw only six passes, completing two for 14 yards.
Much of Orange's rushing success was because of the Panther offensive line--tackles Frank Prelesnik and Corey Inouye, guards Steve Giddings and Brian Carr and center Steve Riddle.
Orange took a 7-0 lead when defensive back Gary Valenzuela intercepted Costa Mesa quarterback Mike Crowe's second pass of the game and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown.
Reed then scored his first touchdown on a 16-yard run with 54 seconds left in the first half, which to give the Panthers a 24-14 halftime lead.
After halftime, Costa Mesa recovered a fumble on its 24, and held the ball for more than eight minutes and 17 plays. However, the drive stalled on the Orange 20.
Later, Maund gained one yard on a first-down dive that set Reed up on a 79-yard sweep for a score and a 31-14 Panther lead.
Reed scored on another 16-yard run with 1:23 left to give Orange a 38-22 lead.
Senior Tyler Riddell rushed for 141 yards in 30 carries and scored a touchdown for Costa Mesa (2-3, 5-5).
Trabuco Hills 37, Laguna Hills 6--The Mustanges defeated the Hawks at Mission Viejo High School to eliminate the Hawks (1-4, 2-8) from a possible tie for third place. Trabuco Hills finishes its first full season of varsity competition, 2-3, 5-5.