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By Steve Breazeale

When the JSerra football team entered the 2014 season, they did so without several major playmakers from last year’s run. Time would tell who would step up to fill the roles vacated by versatile players like Dante Pettis and Casey Eugenio.

On Friday night, the Lions showed they had multiple players who are up to the task.

JSerra benefitted from one big play after another against visiting Chino Hills in a 45-21 nonleague victory at Saddleback College.

The Lions’ (2-0) offense stalled in the first half of last week’s game against Cabrillo, but efficiently drove down the field on their first drive of the game against the Huskies (1-1). JSerra’s first offensive play resulted in a score, when senior quarterback Nick Robinson threw a screen pass to junior receiver Isaiah Diego-Williams, who burst to the outside and ran 34 yards to put his team on the board early.

After building up a 14-7 lead, the Lions got another big play when senior Ethan Aguayo returned a Chino Hills kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

But Chino Hills, who scored 63 points against Hart of Newhall last week, matched the Lions in the opening half.

Less than 20 seconds after Aguayo’s kickoff return, Chino Hills’ junior Curtis Price broke off a 74-yard touchdown run to keep the Huskies within one score at halftime.

With Chino Hills’ defensive line bottling up the line of scrimmage, Robinson and the offense were forced to go outside in the second half.

Robinson threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers in the final 24 minutes, finishing the night with 204 yards and four touchdowns. Robinson’s third touchdown pass on the night was a deep 46-yard strike to senior Sam Philippi, who leapt over his defender to reel in the catch and complete the play.

“We just had to earn a lot of things. We were putting the ball on the perimeter, trying to run. They did a good job of taking away the run game so we had to vertically sort of stretch them and horizontally try to stretch them,” JSerra head coach Jim Hartigan said. “We couldn’t get the real inside run. (Nick) realized it wasn’t there so he took the ball to the perimeter with the quick game.”

The Lions defense also found its groove in the second half, tallying four sacks, a blocked punt, an interception and a forced fumble, which they recovered. Senior defensive ends D.J. Bailey and Justin Hicks had three and two sacks, respectively, in the contest.

Up next for the Lions is a road game against Huntington Beach on Sept. 12.

 

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