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Lancers Watch Saarloos Do It Again : Prep football: Cerritos Valley Christian quarterback comes back to haunt Orange Lutheran at the end.


COSTA MESA — Kirk Saarloos knew his offense had struggled all night, but he paced the Cerritos Valley Christian sideline anyway, waiting for just one more shot at the ball.

Across the field, Orange Lutheran Coach Jim Kunau wasn't worried. Saarloos had burned his Lancers before--a 36-31 Olympic League loss--and the quarterback wasn't about to do it this time.

Then it happened.

Saarloos drove Valley Christian 78 yards in the final seconds for the winning score in the Crusaders' 21-17 victory in the Division X championship game at Orange Coast College.

The drive was about 10 yards shorter than the drive Saarloos directed in the Olympic League championship game five weeks ago. Only this time he didn't have a time out and he couldn't count on standout tailback Kenchasa Amos, who came up big the last time these two teams met.

So Saarloos took advantage of short patterns underneath the Orange Lutheran coverage, then raced up to the line of scrimmage and spiked the ball to kill the clock.

A field goal would have tied it, possibly sending it into a California tiebreaker.

Instead, Saarloos completed a four-yard slant-in pass to Keith Van Essen with 13 seconds left, catching Orange Lutheran by surprise.

"It was only the second time we have run that play all year," Valley Christian Coach Mike Wunderley said. "The other time was earlier in the game and it was batted down at the line of scrimmage."

All Kunau could do on was shake his head and watch the Crusaders mob Van Essen.

"I'm a positive thinker and I believed that we would come up with some big play to stop that drive," he said. "Give Saarloos credit, he's a great quarterback."

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