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JSerra football defeats Newport Harbor despite blowing another big lead

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The JSerra football team blew a three-touchdown lead for the second week in a row, but this time the Lions were still able to get the victory.

Zander Singh connected with Pierce Tanghal for the go-ahead touchdown that gave the Lions a 28-21 win over Newport Harbor in a nonleague game Friday night at JSerra High.

Singh threw two touchdowns in the game, including a 17-yard pass to Tanghal with 8:40 left in the contest. The Lions’ George Perez rushed for 102 yards and scored two touchdowns.

After the No. 19-ranked Sailors (2-1) tied the score in the fourth quarter, the No. 8 Lions (2-1) responded with a six-play, 80-yard drive where Perez and fellow backfield mate Kamar Gabourel each broke off 25-yard runs to help set up the winning touchdown.

JSerra coach Scott McKnight spoke frankly about the Lions’ performance.

“It’s the second week in a row that we’ve given up a 21-0 lead,” he said, referring the Lions’ 24-21 loss at Chaminade in Week 1. “We did it at Chaminade, we were up 21-0 there, so we gotta do a full study on our team, players and coaches alike, and we have to do a deep dive on why we are giving up leads like this.”

The Sailors, who were without coach Peter Lofthouse on Friday due to personal reasons, relied on their defense to spark their comeback in the second half

An interception return for a touchdown by Billy Reilly and then a fumble recovery in the end zone by Trey Regitz brought Newport Harbor within one touchdown in the third quarter, and that made Sailors defensive coordinator John Arredondo very proud.

“It’s all about the boys,” Arredondo said. “They’re great at halftime and they do a good job of taking the coaching at halftime and making the adjustments. They play with a great attitude and they always give us a great effort. It’s just about them and their belief.”

The Sailors continued their momentum surge late in the third as they drove down field thanks to a huge catch by Josiah Lamarque that set up Colton Joseph’s 1-yard TD run that tied the score on the first play of the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know if there’s a word better than proud to talk about how we feel about these guys,” Arredondo said. “To take on a game like this, and to take on a challenge like this, against a great program, I’m just really, really happy and really, really proud.”

Newport Harbor faces Capistrano Valley next week while the Lions meet Centennial of Corona in their toughest test of the season.

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