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By Zach Cavanagh

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – It wasn’t the cleanest performance, but JSerra got what it needed to get done.

After a penalty-filled first quarter, JSerra stormed ahead to defeat Faith Lutheran of Nevada, 50-10, on Friday at JSerra High School to finish its nonleague schedule undefeated entering its pre-Trinity League bye week.

“You want to go into your bye week feeling pretty good about yourselves,” JSerra coach Pat Harlow said, “having a little momentum. 5-0 is where I expected us to be. We played a really hard schedule. Every team we played before tonight was 3-1 or 4-1. That’s a testament to how our guys are preparing and playing.”

JSerra (5-0) begins Trinity League play on the road at St. John Bosco in Bellflower on Sept. 28. Bosco is currently ranked as the No. 2 team in the nation by USA Today.

“As I told the kids, the Trinity League championship runs through Bellflower,” Harlow said. “And then I’m going to tell them it runs through the next one. I really am a one game at a time kind of guy because all that matters is the next one. We’ll concentrate on Bosco and prepare.”

JSerra learned the biggest thing it needs to correct before the Trinity League opens in the first quarter against Faith Lutheran.

JSerra committed six penalties for 45 yards in the quarter to keep the ball in Faith Lutheran’s hands and stall one of its own drives. The Lions committed 12 penalties for 115 yards in the game.

“This week is going to be about us,” Harlow said of the bye week. “It’s always going to be about us. If we play well, we execute, we don’t kill ourselves and extend drives or stop drives with penalties, we’re a pretty good team.”

JSerra was held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season. After an interception on JSerra’s first pass attempt, Faith Lutheran took a 14-play drive for a 38-yard field goal and the lead, 3-0.

While penalties hurt the Lions, the defense held back any Faith Lutheran advances.

JSerra collected six sacks with two each from Shawn Nielsen and Jaden Genova and a sack for a safety by Grant Ristoff in the third quarter.

“We’ve got a really talented defensive line” Harlow said. “I’m really excited about them. Our linebackers playing pretty well too. We can cause some havoc up front. I don’t think anybody has really run on us this year.”

The defensive effort allowed the offense to find its groove and explode for 28 points in the second quarter.

Samuel Green got the scoring started with a two-yard scoring run on the Lions’s first drive of the quarter for the game’s first touchdown and the lead, 7-3.

JSerra’s next drive was quick as Caden Bell and Tarick Luckett hooked up on a first-play, 51-yard rainbow pass for the score, 14-3.

JSerra’s next possession was longer, but not by much. It took two plays, a 30-yard Chris Street run and a 22-yard run by Anthony Ward, to find the end zone, 21-3.

A short punt set up an easy field for JSerra just before halftime where Bell hit Earnest McDaniel on a three-yard TD pass for the 28-3 lead.

The momentum carried into the third quarter, where Green and Calvin Mouisset combined to slightly block a punt for the Lions to take the ball at the Faith Lutheran 30.

Two plays later, Bell threw his third TD pass, 10 yards to Munir McClain.

Ristoff’s safety made it a 33-point lead, 36-3, and Bell responded to Faith Lutheran’s only touchdown with a fourth touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Bell hit Tyler Shimomura straight up the middle on a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Bell completed 11 of 15 passes in the game for 211 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers.

Damon Williams tacked on a one-yard touchdown run late for the 50-10 final.

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