ORANGE — Loara parlayed an opportunistic offense and its usual stingy defense into a 29-7 victory over Orange in the first round of the Division III playoffs Friday night at El Modena High School.
Loara will play Schurr next week.
Orange (6-4-1) played giveaway to the tune of four lost fumbles, two pass interceptions, a blocked punt and a safety when a pass from center sailed out of the end zone in the third quarter to make the victory a lot easier for Loara (7-4) than the Saxons probably ever anticipated.
Most of the damage was done in the second quarter after the Panthers took a 7-3 lead on Nathaniel White's 71-yard first quarter touchdown run.
Jason Ortiz jarred the ball loose from White and Josh Runer recovered on the Orange 29-yard line. That set up the go-ahead touchdown on Denison Dawson's six-yard run with 9:04 remaining in the half.
John Hernandez recovered Jim Perez' fumble on the ensuing kickoff on the Orange 25, and five plays later, Dawson, who ran for 108 yards in 28 carries, scored from 12 yards out for a 17-3 Saxon lead.
Loara seemed to demoralize the Panthers with a 61-yard scoring drive, with quarterback Mister Albritton passing 29 yards to Jason Hart for the touchdown with 12 seconds left before halftime. That gave Loara a 24-7 lead.
Except for White's touchdown run, the Saxon defense smothered the Orange offense, holding the Panthers to 72 yards rushing and 38 yards passing for the night. Ortiz, Runer, Leslie Cobb, Albritton and linebacker Jason Wright led the Loara defense.