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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

University Wins League Title by a Matter of Inches, 22-15

November 11, 2000|VINCE DiCANZIO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The momentum shift that allowed University to escape with a 22-15 victory over Corona del Mar and win the Pacific Coast League title Friday night didn't come from a flashy offensive play, but from a battle over a few inches.

Leading, 15-14, midway through the fourth quarter, Corona del Mar elected to go for a first down on a fourth-and-less-than-a-foot play from its 30. It turned out to be the wrong choice for the Sea Kings as University's defense stuffed Matt Cooper's run up the middle and took possession.

It was the turning point of the game. University quarterback Jay Nichols scored four plays later on a seven-yard keeper to put the Trojans back in the lead for good. The ensuing two-point conversion pass from Nichols to Scott Pickett made the score 22-15 with 4:02 left.

"They should have [gone for it] because they had been blowing us off the ball," University Coach Mark Cunningham said. "I would have done the same thing. It just didn't work out and that seems to be what made the difference in the game for us."

On its next possession, Corona del Mar drove the ball to the University 46, where University's defense again stiffened and stopped the Sea Kings, this time on a fourth-and-four.

Corona del Mar running back Blake Hacker, who ran for 113 yards in 22 carries, scored the game's first points on a three-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

Pickett tied the score after he bounced around the right side and cut back to the middle on a 70-yard scoring run.

A 39-yard pass play from Nichols to Kevin Conlin in the third quarter gave University a 14-7 lead. Corona del Mar regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on Matt Boyce's three-yard touchdown run up the middle.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

PACIFIC COAST

*--*

League Overall School W L T W L T University 5 0 0 8 2 0 Estancia 4 1 0 7 3 0 Corona del Mar 3 2 0 5 5 0 Costa Mesa 2 3 0 6 4 0 Laguna Beach 1 4 0 2 8 0 Northwood 0 5 0 2 8 0

*--*

WEEK 10

Thursday's results

* Costa Mesa 57, Northwood 7

* Estancia 62, Laguna Beach 23

Friday's results

* University 22, Corona del Mar 15

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