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PREP FOOTBALL / SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISION X FINAL : Cerritos Valley Christian Takes Reprieve, Wins Title

December 17, 1995|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cerritos Valley Christian, which was not supposed to be in the final game, won the Southern Section Division X championship with a 21-17 victory against Orange Lutheran before an estimated 6,000 at Orange Coast College.

The Crusaders, which began the playoffs as the top seed, won a thriller on a four yard touchdown pass play from Kirk Saarloos to Keith Van Essen with 13 seconds left. Saarloos finished with 146 yards on 13 of 27 passing.

Cerritos Valley Christian (12-2) came back from deficits of 10-0 at halftime and a 17-14 in the fourth quarter. Like everything else about this week, the Crusaders did it the hard way, driving 78 yards with two minutes left and no time outs.

The Lancers (10-4) were supposed to meet Rosamond, which defeated Cerritos Valley Christian, 45-10, in the semifinals, last week in Antelope Valley.

But Rosamond was removed from the playoffs after it was discovered one of its coaches had altered the game videotape it had given Orange Lutheran.

Van Essen, who caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for Valley's first points, called the Crusader's return to the playoffs "a rebirth. We couldn't believe we got to play football again. And to win the title is a dream. I hope how people will recognize the boys athletics here for a change."

This was the second straight year Orange Lutheran reached the finals. Last year they lost to Montclair Prep, 53-13. And it was their second loss this year to Valley; the Crusaders defeated them in November, 36-31, to win the Olympic League title.

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