By Tim Peterson
(La Mirada) – The last few years have ended in disappointment for La Mirada. Last year’s first round playoff loss to Salesian especially left a bad taste in their mouths. This year the Matadores made sure that didn’t happen with a convincing 45-20 win over La Serna Saturday night to capture the Southeast Division title.
Sei-j Lauago had a field day, or night in this case, for the Mats rushing for 292 yards and three touchdowns. he busted off scoring runs of 62, 66 and three yards and also broke loose for a 67 yard run in the third quarter to set up his three-yard TD run.
La Serna hung around in the first half. The Lancers scored first on their second possession of the game going 51 yards on just three plays with quarterback Johnny Ceballos capping it with a seven-yard run. Ceballos hit Daniel Campos for 37 yards to set up the score.
The Mats responded by reeling off the next three touchdowns to go up 21-7. Sei-j Lauago went 62 yards later in the first to give La Mirada a 14-7 lead and he did it again to open the third for a 21-7 lead. La Serna however wasn’t going to fold. Ceballos scored on runs of one and three yards to get the Lancers within four at the half.
La Mirada then scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to put the Lancers on ice.
*** La Serna scored with no time remaining on the clock in the first half to cut the La Mirada lead to 24-20. The touchdown was set up when La Mirada quarterback Tristan Meyer was picked off by Anthony Garcia to put the Lancers at the Matadore 41. Ceballos hit Campos for 27 yards to set up the score.
*** The Matadores scored just 31 seconds into the second half on two Lauago runs. On the first play from scrimmage he went 67 yards down to the La Serna three-yard line and crashed in from there on the next play from scrimmage.
*** La Mirada was forced to punt on the next series but on the ensuing possession, Ceballos was picked off by Chase Newman who returned it 12 yards for the pick six and just like that it was 38-20.
*** In the fourth quarter Nick Hernandez found a hole and ran 52 yards for a touchdown for a 45-20 lead which proved to be the dagger with 8:42 left.
*** La Serna turned the ball over three times – all interceptions. Shawn Swayne picked off a pass in the first half and Elijah Hicks intercepted Ceballos in the end zone on the Lancers’ last play. La Mirada turned it over twice.
*** Meyer rushed for a touchdown and threw for 91 yards completing 8 of 16 with an interception.
*** La Mirada had 403 yards rushing overall on the night with Hernandez picking up 111 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
*** Garcia led the La Serna rushing attack with 17 carries for 83 yards. Ceballos threw for 111 yards but was hurt by the three picks. He rushed for 63 yards and three touchdowns.
*** La Serna’s four second half possessions ended in a blocked field goal, interception for a pick-six, fourth down stop, interception.
*** La Serna finished the season 11-3 overall and won the Del Rio League title. La Mirada was also 11-3 but finished the year with a 10 game winning streak.