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Laguna Hills Holds Off University's Late Rally

October 17, 1998|RYAN ERMELING

Laguna Hills took its first step to defending its Pacific Coast League title, with a 17-12 victory over University at Mission Viejo Friday night.

But the Hawks (3-3, 1-0) had to hold off a late rally by the Trojans (2-3-1, 0-1), who scored a touchdown with 2 minutes 55 seconds left in the game, then regained possession just a minute later.

Laguna Hills' Rob Stelling ended the threat when he picked off a pass by University's Andy Dennis at the Trojans' 39-yard line.

The Hawks appeared en route to a blowout after taking a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Ryan Johnson, who rushed for 175 yards in 34 carries, scored on a three-yard run and Brandon Champlin hit Derek Stevens for a nine-yard scoring pass.

University got on the board late in the first half, when Reggie Edwards ran 74 yards on the first two plays of the series, and scored on a one-yard dive.

The next touchdown didn't come until late in the fourth quarter, when Dennis connected with Edwards from 74 yards out to pull the Trojans within five.

University, which had averaged 306 yards rushing its last two games, was held to 136 yards on the ground and 96 yards passing.

"They were just too physical," said University Coach Mark Cunningham. "Their defensive line just outplayed our offensive line."

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