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By Zach Cavanagh

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – The conditions weren’t normal, but the JSerra football team kept its focus for a dominant Trinity League victory.

After lightning delayed and postponed their clash on Friday night, JSerra took the field on a misty Saturday morning and won in all phases of the game to beat Orange Lutheran, 56-21, and jockey for a top position in the Trinity League at JSerra Catholic High School.

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“It was definitely weird coming out at 10:30 (a.m.) and waking them up,” JSerra coach Pat Harlow said. “I thought we actually kind of got off to a slow start. They responded well. It was just saying let’s go out and do what we’re supposed to do. I said you played at 10 in the morning for pop warner football most of your lives. They came out and did their jobs.”

JSerra (7-1, 2-1), ranked No. 24 in the nation by USA Today, now sits alone in third place in the Trinity League and moves on to host Mater Dei, No. 1 in the nation, next Friday, Oct. 19. Mater Dei (6-1, 2-0) plays national No. 2 St. John Bosco (7-0, 2-0) on Saturday night. JSerra held tight with Bosco in their league opener, 35-28, on Sept. 28.

“We just want to go in and compete with them, beat them because the league tile runs through them,” JSerra quarterback Caden Bell said. “That’s what Coach Harlow has been telling us all season, the league title runs through Santa Ana now.”

“Why not us?” Harlow said.

JSerra continued to make its case with another strong all around performance.

Bell completed 13 of 21 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Junior running back Chris Street ran for three touchdowns and 103 yards on 13 carries. Senior wide receiver Munir McClain continued his strong return from an injury with six catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

“Definitely getting Munir McClain back,” Bell said of what’s helped the offense improve in league play. “I believe we have one of the best, if not the best, receiving corps in the nation. Chris Street is a great running back. Our line is blocking and getting big holes and protecting on the pass.”

Senior Tarik Luckett caught four receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown.

On the ground, sophomores Sammy Green and Jaden Genova ran in touchdowns.

Genova continued his stellar sophomore season with another strong defensive effort. Genova and Hagen Foreman each pulled in interceptions as the Lions frustrated star Orange Lutheran quarterback Ryan Hilinski.

“We like to bring pressure,” Genova said. “When we bring pressure, we get those QBs off their game.”

In the first half, Orange Lutheran was 3 for 8 on third-down attempts, went three-and-out three times and turned the ball over on downs once.

Orange Lutheran put the first points on the board with a 40-yard touchdown pass, but then JSerra kicked into gear.

Bell hit Luckett on a 45-yard pass that set up a 25-yard Street touchdown run to tie the game, 7-7.

After a three-and-out by the Lancers, Bell hit another 45-yard pass, this one to McClain, and Street pounded in on a two-yard run for the lead, 14-7.

Orange Lutheran went three-and-out after an interception of JSerra, and the Lions put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended on Genova’s 10-yard touchdown run for a two-score lead.

JSerra fumbled on a punt return to give Orange Lutheran a nine-yard field, which they scored on with a one-yard Hilinski sneak, but that was the last of the Lancers in the first half.

Street scored on a highlight reel 13-yard run, Bell hit McClain on a precision 19-yard touchdown pass after Genova’s interception and Bell and McClain hooked up for the second time for a 31-yard touchdown pass on a power move by McClain.

McClain caught the ball between two defenders at the five-yard line, fought off those two defenders and walked alone into the end zone for the 42-14 lead going into halftime.

JSerra put the hammer down on a 13-play, 80-yard, five-minute drive to open the second half with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Bell to Luckett.

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