June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Crean Lutheran clinches CIF playoff berth with home victory over Kennedy

Ben Byszewski of Crean Lutheran looks for an open lane Friday night against Kennedy. (Photos courtesy Crean Lutheran Shutterbugs, Ted Rigoni and John Luciano).

Crean Lutheran High School’s football team secured an automatic bid to the CIF playoffs with a 39-6
Empire League victory over Kennedy Friday night at Crean Lutheran.

Crean Lutheran will be the league’s No. 3 representative in the CIF playoffs.

The Fighting Irish struck first on their first possession on a 53-yard touchdown pass to go up 6-0 however the Saints responded with 39 unanswered points.

A swarming defense, an opportunistic offense, and special teams units that blocked a punt and forced turnovers were the keys to the victory, according to Coach Rick Curtis.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Connor Stephens got the Saints on the scoreboard with a 23-yard field goal to cut the lead to 6-3 at the end of the first quarter.

The Saints (7-3, 3-2) scored their first touchdown on a 7-yard TD pass from Jeremiah Finaly to Carter Jones.

Freshman Caden Jones, who started at quarterback for the Saints, completed three touchdown passes in the second quarter, all to Daylin Caamano. Jones’ touchdown passes were of 21, 17 and 1 yard
to help put the Saints ahead by a commanding 32-6 lead at halftime.

Tyler Parker added a rushing touchdown in the second half to put the game out of reach 39-6.

“The Saints defense and special teams created five turnovers overall with Anthony Jones leading
the way,” Curtis said. “Anthony Jones blocked a punt and was awarded a safety, while Luke Doyle, Eli Bray,
Mason McCullough and Anthony Jones recovered fumbles to give the offense great field
position throughout the contest.

“Troy Hill added an interception to turn away the Fighting Irish on a drive in the fourth quarter. The defensive front put on a furious pass rush vs. the Kennedy offense. Taurian Nash and Josiah Mora each recorded a sack, while Tyler Parker, Mora and Anthony Jones pressured the quarterback into errant throws throughout the evening.”

Curtis said he was pleased with his team’s focus and effort.

“The team and coaching staff did a great job in preparing for the game and once we got the jitters out of the way we were able to execute the game plan in all phases,” he said.

“We are anxiously awaiting our draw in the CIF playoffs, but we feel our team is battle tested and ready for the post season playoffs.”

Kennedy dropped to 6-4 overall and 1-4 in league.