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CIF football playoffs: Sea Kings’ revenge

One year after Hart eliminates Palos Verdes, the tables are turned

Posted: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 17, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hart's Connor Wingenroth (10) turns up field draggin two Palos Verdes defenders behind him at College of the Canyons on Friday night.

Antoine Holmes took the ball on fourth-and-short, cut to his left and with a hole ahead of him, the junior running back lost his footing and wound up flat on his back.

The play, which came with the Indians driving to pull within two scores midway through the second quarter, was a microcosm of the way the night went for Hart, as the Indians got off to a nightmarish start and never recovered in a 49-28 loss to Palos Verdes at College of the Canyons in the second round of the CIF-SS Northern Division Playoffs.

The Sea Kings (9-3) came out like a team seeking revenge against a team that knocked them out of the playoffs the season before.

They returned the favor, behind balanced play-calling and exceptional play from three star seniors.

The Indians’ problems began on the first drive of the game, as Palos Verdes drove 80 yards on 10 plays and took a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown trot by senior running back Matt Lopes.

The drive was prolonged by a pass interference call and followed by a flag, seemingly against Palos Verdes, which was picked up.

Lopes, who finished the night with 196 yards and two scores on 26 carries, while also hauling in a receiving score, was ecstatic to continue his high school career with a win over the Indians.

“I remember the day when we left the field after they beat us and us juniors were ready for this moment and we saw it coming,” he said. “We prepared and it worked out.”

On the first play of Hart’s ensuing drive after the Palos Verdes score, Indians quarterback Brady White’s interception set up the first of three touchdown passes from quarterback Matt Scott to fellow senior Dean Alessi, the third of which gave the Sea Kings a 28-0 lead just 34 second into the second quarter.

Trent Irwin got the home crowd on its feet with 9:49 left in the first half, as the sure-handed sophomore turned a five-yard curl route into a 69-yard touchdown reception to pull the Indians within 21.

But Hart (8-4) continually got in their own way.

White, who had 308 passing yards in the game, came out of the half on fire and led the Indians to a score to make it 28-14 Palos Verdes.

But even with a couple of stops from its defense, led by junior linebacker Garrett Updegraft, Hart allowed big plays to break it, including a 93-yeard kickoff return for a touchdown one play after Connor Wingenroth’s touchdown run made it a 14-point game.

Despite the loss, Updegraft sees hope for a program that will return many key players in 2013.

“We’re definitely going to use this game as fuel in the offseason,” he said. “We’re going to practice our butts off and get back at it.”


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