The Road to 2021 CIF Finals: Lancer Football

Pre-season

In May, Orange Lutheran hired Rod Sherman ‘93 as the new head football coach.  With him, he brought OLu Quarterback alum Aaron Corp ‘07 as the offensive coordinator.  Both Sherman and Corp were a part of the last Lancers squad to win a CIF Championship in 2006.  And after 15 years between championship appearances both Sherman and Corp will again step onto the football field Friday night looking for another championship.

Coming into the season, the Lancers were ranked near or in the top 10 in most publications.  The Lancers challenged themselves in the pre-season slate to help prepare for the gauntlet of the Trinity League.

Article: Orange Lutheran football unites under first-year coach Rod Sherman to reach Division 2 final from OC Register.

Regular Season

The Lancers opened the 2021 season with a road trip to fellow top 25 team Serra Gardena.  The Lancers came out victorious 31-20.  The win sparked a tremendous preseason run which saw OLu win close game after close game.  Against Edison, Dieter Kelly would nail a 34-yard game-winning field goal to propel them over the Chargers 23-21.  The very next week OLu would play an overtime thriller against Damien and came out victorious 41-38. The Lancers capped the preseason with a 42-20 win over Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.  

At 5-0, OLu would head into the Trinity League schedule ranked in the top 10 in the state.  However, they would play 3 of the best teams in the nation over the first 3 weeks of league play; Servite, Mater Dei, and Bosco.  OLu played tough but ultimately fell in all 3 and dropped to 5-3 on the season.  With two weeks left in the season, the Lancers gutted out a tough road win over JSerra 9-7 behind the leg of sophomore kicker Ryan Yonkers who drilled a 27-yard field goal with just over 5 minutes to play to give them the win.  In the regular-season finale, the Lancers lost a shootout to Santa Margarita 35-28 and dropped a season-ending record of 6-4.  

CIF Playoffs vs. Simi Valley

OLu finished 5th in the tough Trinity League and secured the #3 seed in the Division 2 CIF-SS playoffs.  Their opening game was against 10-0 Simi Valley at Orange Coast College.  Logan Gonzalez threw for 5 scores, 3 of them to Malik Blackmon, to help guide OLu to a convincing 49-13 win.  

 

CIF Quarterfinals vs. Corona del Mar

In the quarterfinals, the opponent was a fellow Orange County team, Corona del Mar.  Gonzalez this time threw for 4 touchdowns to 4 separate receivers.  The defense gave up a score on the first drive but stymied the Sea Kings the remainder of the game as OLu went on to win 38-14.  The win put OLu into the CIF Semifinals for the first time since 2008.  It also secured the program's first 8 win season since that year as well. 

 

CIF Semifinals vs. Sierra Canyon

The opponent in the CIF Semifinals was Sierra Canyon.  It was a high-scoring affair but ultimately the Lancers secured their first CIF Championship berth since 2006 with a 42-40 victory.  Logan Gonzalez threw for 5 more touchdowns, 3 to Jaylen Lynch and 2 to Malik Blackmon.  The momentum of the game switched when trailing 21-14 late in the 2nd quarter, OLu would score twice before halftime to lead 28-21. Any attempt at a comeback was thwarted late in the 3rd when after a long completion the Trailblazers receiver was stripped at the end of the play and the fumble was recovered by the Lancers.  The Lancers scored on the ensuing possession to make it 42-27 early in the 4th quarter. 

The win secured the program’s 8th CIF Title berth.

 

CIF Finals vs. Bishop Alemany

For the 3rd time in school history, the OLu Football team are CIF Champions after defeating Alemany 38-35.

In stunning fashion, the Lancers erased an 11 point 4th quarter deficit in a little over a minute to flip the CIF Division 2 Finals on its head. Down 27-16 with 7:11 left, the Lancers scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Logan Gonzalez to Malik Blackmon to cut it to 5. The ensuing 2 point conversion was executed to perfection as Gonzalez hit a wide-open Jace Rodriguez on a tight end throwback to make it 27-24.

On the first play of the next drive, Alemany bobbled the exchange and the Lancers recovered the fumble inside the 20. Two plays later Gonzalez hit Hayden Faraday for an 18 yard 1 handed reception. And the Lancers led for the first time all game 31-27 with 6 minutes left.

The Lancers D then rose to the occasion on the next series with a 3 and out capped by a Rex Barrera sack. The game was slammed shut when Desmin Jackson ripped off a game-clinching 28 yard TD run to give OLu a 38-27 lead. Alemany would pull one score back but it was not enough.

The win is the team's first CIF Championship since 2006. They will play in the SoCal Regionals vs Cathedral Catholic on Friday, December 3.  Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm at Orange Coast College.  The game can be watched on TV at Spectrum News 1.  For spectrum customers that is channel 1 and for Cox customers that is channel 99.  You can also watch on the Spectrum News app.  The game is also available to watch via the NFHS Network stream.  

 

CIF State Regionals vs. Cathedral Catholic

The Lancers incredible run came to an end in the CIF State Regional on Friday night against the Cathedral Catholic Dons.  In a back and forth high scoring affair the Lancers were bested by the Dons 71-62.  

After one quarter the score was only 7-0 in favor of the Lancers but from there the offenses took off combining for 126 points the rest of the way.  OLu was led by senior quarterback Logan Gonzalez who threw for 433 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Four of those scores were to fellow senior Jaylen Lynch who had 178 yards on 11 receptions.  Shifty running back Desmin Jackson had 3 scores on 219 yards rushing.  

The Lancers finished the 2021 season with a 10-5 overall record.  They won their first CIF Championship since 2006 and won more than 8 games for the first time since 2008.  

Follow the action on Instagram (@OLu_Athletics) and Twitter (@OLuFootball). 

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