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Two ways, big plays for Ayles

December 26, 2007|Martin Henderson

Not only was USC-bound Blake Ayles a presence at defensive end for Orange Lutheran, he was among the top tight ends in the country.

Few players delivered the way that Ayles did week after week since his sophomore season. He might as well have been known as Mr. Third Down because it seemed that whenever the Lancers needed to sustain a drive, No. 88 wound up with the ball. Or whenever they needed a big pass rush, Ayles, 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds, delivered.

For his consistent excellence on both sides of the ball, Ayles is The Times' lineman of the year.

A year after winning the CIF state Division II bowl championship game, the Lancers (10-2) followed up with what might have been an even more impressive performance given their graduation losses. Lutheran lost in the Southern Section semifinals to eventual Pac-5 champion Long Beach Poly, 2-0

Although Ayles was named to the All-Star team as a defensive end, where he recorded eight sacks -- it was his first season as a full-time defensive starter -- he is lineman of the year as much for his performance on offense.

He was leaned on heavily by Blake Hyepock, a senior quarterback who had never started on any level. Ayles caught 44 passes, averaging 15.4 yards a reception, for eight touchdowns.

-- Martin Henderson

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