Orange Lutheran hangs on for victory over Santa Margarita

Costa Mesa, CA - August 19: Orange Lutheran running back Antonio Barrera outruns Gardena Serra.
Orange Lutheran running back Antonio Barrera, shown during a game earlier this season, had a touchdown run against Santa Margarita in a Trinity League opener on Friday. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Before its Trinity League opener against Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran coach Rod Sherman said he wanted his youthful team to show signs of growth and the Lancers did just that.

Clinging to a two-point lead with 17 seconds to play and Santa Margarita lining up for a two-point conversion to potentially tie the score, the Orange Lutheran defense came up with a game-winning stop as a pass from Eagles quarterback Jaxon Potter fell to the ground in the end zone.

The sideline celebration was on as the young Lancers gutted out a 28-26 victory Friday night at Orange Coast College.

The Lancers overcame a six-point third-quarter deficit, scoring 14 points in the final 8:34, including two fourth-and-one conversions to put them in position to close out the victory.

Antonio Barrera scored on a two-yard touchdown on fourth and goal with 8:34 to play to give Orange Lutheran a 21-20 lead.

After an interception by Keon Washington, the Lancers added another touchdown on a one-yard quarterback keeper on fourth and goal by sophomore TJ Lateef, putting the Lancers up 28-20 with 4:14 to go. But Santa Margarita didn’t go away.

Potter used his arm and legs to engineer an 80-yard scoring drive capped by a five-yard touchdown pass to Emmett Mosely with 17 seconds remaining, but the Eagles couldn’t complete the two-point conversion to send the game into overtime.

Potter came out throwing on the first drive of the game as he completed all eight of his passes for 57 yards, culminating in a six-yard touchdown pass to Mosely. Orange Lutheran (5-1, 1-0) blocked the extra-point attempt and the Eagles took a 6-0 lead at the 6:30 mark of the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Orange Lutheran benefited from two pass interference penalties by Santa Margarita, and, on a crucial fourth-and-five play, Lateef connected with Barrera for a six-yard gain to earn the first down. Barrera then scored on a 14-yard run up the middle to give the Lancers a 7-6 lead with four seconds to play in the first.

Santa Margarita (4-2, 0-1) again was quick to score to open the second quarter as Potter completed five straight passes, including a beauty of a 30-yard pass up the left sideline to a streaking Mosely, who tiptoed the side of the end zone for a touchdown.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.