June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Crean Lutheran takes control from the start in season opening win over Canyon

Carter Jones carries the ball for Crean Lutheran Friday night. (Photos courtesy Crean Lutheran Shutterbugs / John Luciano, Howard Lyon and Wendy Rueter).

Crean Lutheran High School’s football team had a solid overall effort in the season opener Friday night, defeating Canyon 40-21 in a non-league game at Fred Kelly Stadium.

“Our kids played really well,” Saints Coach Rick Curtis said Saturday. “I was very pleased with our execution on offense and our aggressive play on defense.”

Crean Lutheran was led by Ben Byszewski who had six catches for 74 yards and a pick six touchdown of 40 yards. Byszewski had a second interception to stop a Comanche drive in the second half. 

“We were pleased with the development of our quarterback, Jeremiah Finaly, who was accurate on his throws and did a great job managing the game,” Curtis said. “Justin Dominguez picked up where he left off from last year, slashing his way to 113 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown behind a rebuilt offensive line.

“Kyler Petronis, Tyler Parker, and Josiah Mora were solid in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Eli Bray made some key plays and registered a rushing and receiving touchdown. Robert ‘Dash’ Smith also had a touchdown reception after a Finaly scramble.”

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

Carter Jones led the defense with 14 tackles, three assists, and two passes broken up and Javari Nash, who intercepted a pass from his safety position. 

“Smith electrified the crowd with an 85-yard kickoff return while Connor Stephens and the special teams units were solid throughout the evening,” Curtis said. “It was an exciting team victory against a solid Canyon program. It was a great start of the season for the Saints as we were victorious on the freshmen and JV levels as well.”