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Irvine Starts, Finishes Strong

Football: Vaqueros dominate Orange Lutheran, leading by 28 points in the first quarter of a 55-14 victory.


This was the week that fifth-ranked Irvine was to be tested. Its inexperienced linemen were supposed to be challenged, its defense expected to be locked in the radar of a creative offense.

The wait continues.

Irvine dominated Orange Lutheran, 55-14, in front of about 2,000 at Brea Olinda High on Friday.

"They're a very, very, very good team," said Lancer quarterback Casey Whieldon, who couldn't emphasize his point enough. "I thought they were going to be good. They were better than I expected."

Seven minutes into the game, Irvine led by 21, a margin that stretched to 28 by the end of the first quarter.

And to show that the first quarter wasn't a fluke, Irvine held a 48-8 lead by halftime, the only blemish coming on an 86-yard pass from Whieldon to Jon Talmage.

But if the Vaquero defense let up for a moment, it also had several big moments. Eric Patton returned an interception 17 yards for a 21-0 lead, and Joe Bollard returned a fumble 55 yards to make it 48-8 with 2 minutes 13 seconds left in the first half.

"We never feel like we're out of the game," Lancer Coach Jim Kunau said, "but [Patton's interception return] was a pivotal moment.

"Give them credit--they made big plays all night long."

Like Peter Abe's 52-yard touchdown run on Irvine's third offensive play. Or Godfrey Young's 36-yard touchdown run to give Irvine a 41-0 lead. Or those two defensive touchdowns.

"It was weird," said Irvine quarterback Travis Otott, who completed nine of 16 passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns. "All of a sudden, we had a lot of points. "

Young recovered a fumble on Orange Lutheran's second series at the Lancer 39, and Otott passed for a 12-yard score to Dan Beauchat for a 14-0 lead. On the next series, Patton picked off a Whieldon pass for an easy score, too.

Whieldon, a sophomore making only his second start because the two quarterbacks in front of him are injured, completed 11 of 31 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns--of 86 and 59 yards to Talmage, who caught six passes for 164 yards.

Abe led Irvine (3-0) with 11 carries for 87 yards in his team's 168-yard rushing attack.

Orange Lutheran fell to 1-2.

Irvine's linemen--Matt McKinney, Nick Gasper, Max Malapas, Ramin Kashani and Tyler Wright--were outstanding against Orange Lutheran's defense. "No one touched me until the second half," said Otott.

Said Doomey, who carried five times for 29 yards and scored on a three-yard run and a 17-yard reception: "We're on top of our game. But we can be a lot better. There's always room for improvement."

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