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PREP EXTRA / SATURDAY FOOTBALL PULLOUT : Orange Lutheran Knocks Off Valley Christian


BREA — Most of the 900 fans who came to witness a little history Friday night at Brea-Olinda High got their wish.

The upstart Orange Lutheran Lancers bolted to a 21-point halftime lead, and went on to pound Cerritos Valley Christian, 30-17, to grab a share of the Olympic League championship with Valley Christian. The Lancers should get the higher playoff seeding because they won in head-to-head competition, the first tiebreaker.

Quarterback Joe Juliano threw three touchdown passes and ran for another touchdown for the Lancers (8-2, 4-1). He passed for 181 yards and was Orange Lutheran's leading rusher with 72 yards.

"I just can't believe it. I'm shocked," Lancer Coach Jim Kunau said. "Tonight was a tribute to 32 kids who had tremendous heart and commitment."

Valley Christian's size was a constant worry to the Orange Lutheran staff. An offensive line that averages 211 pounds per player would only make Mater Dei yawn. But, coupled with 220-pound tailback Mike Cunningham (who was moved from fullback six weeks ago after an injury to starter Jason Van Duyn), it looked like the second coming of Nebraska to the smaller Lancers.

"They are very precise, and run or pass evenly to the right or left," said Dean Vieselmeyer, Orange Lutheran's defensive coordinator. "They don't give you many tendencies. This is the kind of team we hope some day to be at their level. They have a great tradition."

But the Lancers stomped all over Valley Christian's tradition in the first half.

Orange Lutheran scored on its first two possessions, and each time it was on the first play. After receiving the opening kickoff, Juliano tossed a swing pass to Che Holloway, who ran untouched down the right sideline for a 91-yard touchdown. After forcing a punt and starting from the Valley 39, Juliano raced around left end for another touchdown, and the Lancers were up, 14-0.

The Crusaders appeared ready to make a game out of it when they recovered a fumble at the Orange Lutheran 44, and worked themselves into position for a 27-yard field goal by David Hoekstra.

Valley Christian could not hold the ball in the second quarter, however, as Holloway stole a fumble in the air from Cunningham at the Lancer 48. Juliano guided Orange Lutheran on a 52-yard, seven-play drive, punctuated by his second touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to Mike Crawford.

After a 70-yard punt return by Dan Young, the Lancers scored again, getting a 34-yard field goal from Matt Stratton with 11 seconds left in the game.

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