This past Friday, the Orange Lutheran Lancers traveled to Arizona to play the Chandler High School Wolves, coming into the game 2-0 they are nationally ranked inside the top 50 teams. The Lancers also entered the game undefeated, with the opening win over Serra Garden, their victory over a historic De La Salle program, and a shutout over Eastside Catholic from Washington. They came into their game 3-0 and ranked 20 in the nation. The highly anticipated out-of-state matchup was listed as one of the week’s top games by MaxPreps.
The game started very slowly for the Lancers in the Grand Canyon State. With the first possession of the game, the Wolves drove down the field assisted by a few penalties to run in the first score of the game. The Lancers couldn’t answer, as Junior Quarterback TJ Lateef threw an interception on a pass intended for Junior receiver Tyler Hennessy, which Chandler returned for a touchdown to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.
The Lancer offense continues struggling to find their footing, with multiple drives ending in punts. On the contrary, the defense was dominant, continuing to shut down the Chandler offense and hold them scoreless in the second quarter. Junior lineman Keelan Tagoa’i and sophomore linebacker Christian Panapa played a critical role in the game. Tagoa’i accumulated 11 tackles on the day, two being for a loss, and Panapa, returning from an injury, totaled 10 tackles. Other worthy performances came from Talanoa Ili, who had eight tackles, with three for a loss; Senior Safety Wes Barksdale and Junior defensive lineman David Tonumaipea for the defense.
The offense was finally able to get something going, driving down the field, capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Junior running back Steve Chavez, along with an extra point from Senior kicker Ryan Yonkers, making the score 14-7. The defense continued dominating with multiple punts from the Wolves this quarter, but the offense couldn’t get anything. With the ball being punted back and forth a few times. With their last drive in the half, the Lancers try to make something happen, but while scrambling outside the pocket, before throwing the ball away, TJ Lateef takes a hit, putting him out for the rest of the game. Another punt from the Lancers, as time winds down in the half, gives Chandler the ball back and uses what’s left of the clock on a final drive, which ends quickly due to the clock. The game goes into halftime 14-7 in favor of Chandler.
Coming out of halftime, the Lancer offense continued to struggle, punting multiple times, but some pressure on the return caused a fumble, giving the Lancers the ball back in scoring position. The offense couldn’t put the ball in the endzone, resulting in a 31-yard field goal made by Sophomore kicker Aiden Migirdichian, bringing the score to 14-10. However, the offense couldn’t get anything going, going scoreless for the rest of the game. And with many fourth down attempts, the defense couldn’t get any rest, constantly having to go back on the field. The Chandler offense took every opportunity they were given, bringing the game to a close with a final score of 35-10 in favor of Chandler.
The Lancers host Sierra Canyon next week for their homecoming game. It is a highly anticipated matchup, viewed by MaxPreps as one of the games of the week, and a battle for a top spot in California. The Lancer moved to 3-1 on the season and fell to #7 in California and #36 in the nation, looking to bounce back.