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WOODLAND HILLS – The San Fernando Valley had two teams on Friday night: Alemany and Sierra Canyon. If each team could win their respective semi-final match, it would produce a match that local high school football fans have wanted for years, especially since both schools are on Rinaldi Street.
Alemany held their end of the bargain, but the Sierra Canyon didn’t, as Orange Lutheran played the spoiler in a 42-40 win over the Trailblazers at Pierce College to advance to the Division 2 final in the South Section of the CIF.
The Lancers will move to face Alemany – a 56-30 winner over Inglewood – in the Championship game.
Orange Lutheran quarterback Logan Gonzalez was fantastic, throwing 329 yards and five touchdowns on 23 of 33 passes without interceptions.
“I really wanted to focus on keeping my balance tonight. No stress, ”Gonzalez said. “We were prepared and won. ”
Gonzalez threw three touchdowns at Jaylen Lynch and two at Malik Blackmon. Orange Lutheran (9-4) is no stranger to tough games, especially coming from the Trinity League, and Gonzalez felt it really helped him on Friday night.
“The level of play compared to the Trinity League is different,” he said. “Everything is slowing down. Sierra Canyon are a great team, hands down the best team we’ve faced in the playoffs.
The Lancers beat Simi Valley (49-13) and Corona del Mar (38-14) in the playoffs before edging out the Trailblazers.
Sierra Canyon’s Jason Jones ran for 195 yards and his team’s five touchdowns, bringing his playoff total to 15 touchdowns.
The Trailblazers were down, 35-27, but driving late in the third quarter when wide receiver Darryl West’s 30-yard reception resulted in a controversial fumble. Orange Lutheran recovered and drove onto the field to score a touchdown with 9:40 left to make it 42-27.
“It was a questionable call that certainly gave (Orange Lutheran) some momentum,” said Sierra Canyon coach Jon Ellinghouse.
Jones scored his fifth touchdown with 5:58 left to make it 42-33 and Sierra Canyon scored again with less than 20 seconds left to set up an offensive kick, but it was recovered by Hayden Faraday to seal the match.
“We came with respect for Orange Lutheran. We watched a movie about them playing against some of the best teams in the country, ”Ellinghouse said. “They are battle proven and a very well trained team.”