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Orange Lutheran, Los Al On To SoCal School Final

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Orange Lutheran, Los Al On To SoCal School Final

Los Al unleashed a strong defensive effort to win the semifinal.

It will be Orange Lutheran vs Los Alamitos in the Southern California Single-School final next week after both won semifinals this weekend.

Los Alamitos, which had lost a nailbiter to Torrey Pines way back in December, handed Torrey Pines their first league loss of the season. In an entertaining contest Los Al pulled out 24-19 winners.

Paced by a powerful front three, captain and flyhalf Brayden Evors running the attack, and Lenny Ibarra a constant threat at center, Los Al pulled off what is probably a very slight upset.

Los Al took the early lead with a breakaway try by flanker Rocco Burdett, which Ibarra successfully converted. Los Al then proceeded to give away multiple penalties, which opened the doorfor Torrey Pines to close the gap and even take the halftime lead 9-7.

The Griffins put in a series of defensive stands, forcing Torrey Pines to kick the ball away.

In the second half the Griffins came out on the front foot, scoring two breakout tries by Burdett and and flanker Exodus Alo, who hasn't played any rugby since U14s and has been a key factor this season.

Ibarra was helping set up his teammates and converted all three tries and added a penalty goal. Jaden Hernandez was constantly breaking the Torrey Pines gainline before, unfortunately, leaving due to injury. Pearson Sapiga, Tupu Toloai, Izaac Rodriguez, and Freshman hooker Koa Murasco in the forwards were outstanding. In the backs backs Nasser El-Zein, Gavin Vera, Blake Vera all contributed to the win. The Griffins dominant defense was the major difference in the game and the intensity on the field was exciting to watch as both teams left it all out on the field. 

Meanwhile, Orange Lutheran beat Loyola of LA 34-12. 

This was a very close game in the first half as both defenses came to play. Loyola loed 7-5 just before the halftime break when Orange Lutheran flyhalf Makai Harris put a crafty kick over the defense and wing Zaiden Kinney chased it down to score.

That looked to be a bit of a momentum-changer for Orange Lutheran but Loyola responded with a try two minutes into the second half. Orange Lutheran did well to shake that off and settled into their game plan. Orange Lutheran's big forward pack eventually wore down Loyola and were able to capitalize with Tred Dibble, Keelan Taogai, Tonga Uhila all crossing over for tries.

"We are happy with the result," said Orange Lutheran Head Coach Jay Harris. "And believe we deserve to be here. But we know the job is not done, and look forward to playing again next week."

Orange Lutheran have not Los Alamitos faced each other but OL did play Torrey Pines and lost by one point, and Los Al played Loyola, losing 24-21.