Lutheran West outlasted visiting Orange 45-40 earlier tonight in one of the wildest game at Alumni Stadium in recent memory. Eddie Lewis rushed 30 times for 224 yards and two touchdowns and Greg Fuentes threw two touchdowns—one to Isaiah Parker and the second to Jacob Parella. Lewis added a kick return for a touchdown. And Manny Diaz scored on a pick-6 early in the second half.
But it was Manny Diaz’s touchdown pass that was the deciding score of the game. With Lutheran West down 40-39 and less than 4 minutes to play, the Longhorns faced a fourth and five from the Longhorn 41. Considering the Longhorns had given up touchdowns on the Lions’ previous four possessions, LW needed a first down to keep their hopes alive. LW offensive coordinator Tom Narducci dug deep in his bag of tricks and pulled out a play last seen on a football field when John Elway was calling the signals in Denver in the 1980s. Lutheran West QB Greg Fuentes handed the ball to Diaz who was sprinting parallel to the line of scrimmage. Diaz continued his east-west trek behind the line of scrimmage before lofting a pass 10 yards down the field to a wide-open Greg Fuentes who had leaked out of the backfield. Fuentes, who already had the first down, had his eyes set on a much bigger prize. After making one Lion defensive back miss with a feint toward the sideline, Fuentes outsprinted the rest of the Lion defenders for a 59-yard touchdown giving Lutheran West the lead 45-40.
Yet, to paraphrase Job, “the razzle dazzle gives, and it takes away.” And the while the razzle-dazzle gods smiled on Lutheran West, they frowned on the Orange on the very next possession. With Orange driving for what appeared to be the game winning score, the Lions tried to run a reverse from the Longhorn 20-yard line on second and six. Eddie Lewis was not surprised, and pulled down the Lion ball carrier all the way back on the 33 yard line for a 13 yard loss. The Lions continued their backward movement when Elijah Burns blew up the ensuing play for a six yard loss to set up fourth and 25. An incomplete pass on fourth down effectively ended the game with West holding on for a hard fought and well-deserved victory.
West hosts Brooklyn next week on Friday for Homecoming.