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Once Vedder Gets Better, Laguna Hills Rolls Over Bloomington


MISSION VIEJO — Of all the scenarios he envisioned leading up to this night, Justin Vedder, the slingshot-armed kid who led all Orange County passers last season, never figured to shoot blanks for the opening 12 minutes.

But there was the Laguna Hills' quarterback, misfiring on his first four attempts before finally clicking enough to lead the Hawks' to a 31-14 season-opening victory over Bloomington Friday night at Mission Viejo High.

Worse, he got his cage rattled on two other first-quarter drop-backs, getting sacked for 22 yards in losses.

"There were a lot of rough edges for me," said Vedder, who eventually connected on six of 15 attempts for 195 yards. "I didn't do as well as I wanted. They came out in a different defense than we expected and it was hard to pick up the blitzes. That caused us trouble on the long drops, which we like to do."

Bloomington, an opponent Laguna Hills Coach Steve Bresnahan said he knew nothing about until the game started, built a short-lived 7-3 lead by the end of the quarter and then made its first mistake.

On fourth and four from the Laguna Hills 36 with a little more than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, Bloomington gambled on a running play.

And Greg Oliver was stuffed.

On the next play, Bloomington blew a pass coverage, Vedder found Brendan McGraw open in the left flat about 30 yards downfield and, boom, they hooked up for a 66-yard touchdown pass play.

Then, on the next Laguna Hills' series, the Hawks called a variation of the same play with nearly the same result. Vedder dropped back to pass, McGraw was open in the left flat and this one went for 68 yards before McGraw was caught from behind.

Two plays later, Vedder scored on a keeper from the 12 to make it 17-7.

Although Bloomington pulled to within a field goal, 17-14, in the third quarter, Laguna Hills running back Fred Kim took over in the second half, scoring touchdowns from six and nine yards out, ensuring Laguna Hills' victory.

Kim finished with 123 yards in 21 carries, producing Laguna Hills' entire rushing game.

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