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Sage Hill falls short

High School Football

Lightning rallies late and nearly pulls out miraculous win against Fairmont Prep Saturday night.

September 01, 2012|By Matt Szabo

YORBA LINDA — A miraculous final play nearly saved the Sage Hill School football team Saturday night against Fairmont Prep.

But, for the Lightning, a slow start again proved too much to overcome.

Sage Hill lost the nonleague game, 32-27, at Yorba Linda High. It was another frustrating result for the Lightning, who are now 0-2 for just the second time in program history.

The Lightning lost more than the game. Sophomore quarterback CJ McCord injured his right arm in the second quarter and was taken to the hospital. Coach J.R. Tolver said Lucas Ellison, a stalwart at offensive tackle, also possibly separated his shoulder.

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Tolver said McCord, a transfer from Edison, may have injured his radial nerve.

"We don't want to make any predictions on that, but from what the trainer said it's most likely that it's broken," Tolver said. "He's going to the doctor now, and hopefully we get some good news."

The good news for the Lightning was that they rallied in the second half for the second straight week. The bad news was that they still lost to a Fairmont Prep (1-0) team that went winless in nine games last season.

Sage Hill almost stole the victory on the game's final play. Senior quarterback Harrison Ray, who took over at the position when McCord was injured late in the second quarter, threw a pass over the middle. The ball was intercepted by Fairmont Prep's Lionel Wiggins on his own 30-yard line.

The Lightning's Sam Masarik somehow stripped the ball before Wiggins went down, and Sage junior Logan Hamilton picked it up and started running.

A touchdown would have provided a miracle ending, but Hamilton was tackled on the 15-yard line as the game ended. Fairmont Prep first-year coach Fred Romo, who was the offensive coordinator at Corona del Mar High in 2010, could finally exhale.

"Honestly I didn't know what to think," Romo said. "You're kind of like, 'What's going on here?' Then, after the circus ended, you saw the clock at zero and it was like, 'all right.' I mean, it was Keystone Cops."

Romo said he was just happy for his players after the team's rough season last year. He got anything but a Keystone Cops type of performance from his quarterback, junior Bobby Varnadoe. The Huskies ran Varnadoe and senior Jay Solanski time after time, and the two players seemingly broke tackles on every play. Romo said his team will use Varnadoe in any way it can think of, and it made sense.

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