Rancho Alamitos football beats Santiago with wild finish, clinches share of league title


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GARDEN GROVE >> Rancho Alamitos quarterback Isaac Plata found Sal Correa for an 18-yard touchdown pass and the go-ahead points with 42 seconds left to squeak by Santiago 25-22 on Friday night at Garden Grove High.

The Vaqueros (8-1, 4-0) clinched a share of the Garden Grove League championship with the victory in a game that saw four lead changes in the fourth quarter. They can win the league outright by beating Los Amigos next week.

“We have no quit in us,” Rancho Alamitos coach Mike Enright said. “Our kids are resilient. We could’ve folded right there when they got that long touchdown run but we did what we do.”

The long touchdown run was a 72-yard sprint up the middle by Cavaliers running back Art Martinez, which gave Santiago a 22-18 advantage with 2:56 left in the game. That came one play from scrimmage after Vaqueros kicker Angel Diaz nailed a 37-yard field goal to take an 18-16 lead.

“I almost feel like we scored too fast,” Santiago coach Doug Ozsvath said. “Art Martinez broke that one off and I said ‘oh my gosh,’ as I started looking up at that clock.”

Enright felt confident that Plata would lead the Vaqueros downfield for the game-winning score.

“We practice it every day. We’re a no-huddle offense, we don’t go fast every time, but we are a two-minute team,” Enright explained. “We don’t worry about coming from behind because we know we can.”

Plata spread the ball around on the game-winning drive as Anthony Leal (117 yards rushing), Jonathan Nguyen, Matthew Sanchez, Valentino Villa and Correa all got touches on the final possession.

“We use a lot of receivers. We don’t throw to one guy, we’re gonna throw to the open guy,” Enright said.

Plata, a senior, who stepped up to play quarterback after Chris Hurley suffered a season-ending injury, went 14 of 18 passing with 122 yards and two touchdowns, including a 3-yard scoring pass to Sanchez in the second quarter.

The Cavaliers (7-2, 3-1) scored on their opening possession, a 12-play, 64-yard drive capped by Satomai Siofele’s 1-yard run to go up 8-0 after a successful 2-point conversion.

Santiago held a 8-7 lead at halftime but the Vaqueros emphasized their ground game in the second half and Leal was the main force behind the turnaround. Leal ran the ball eight times in an 11-play scoring drive that ended with him scoring on a 1-yard run to give Rancho Alamitos a 15-8 advantage midway through the third quarter.

The Cavaliers answered with Isaac Hernandez’s 8-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to give Santiago a 16-15 lead, the first of four lead changes in the final quarter.

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Austin Overn leads Foothill football past Villa Park in another dramatic Crestview League game


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ORANGE — The Crestview League produced two football games decided by three points in its opening round. The group kept to its dramatic ways Friday but Foothill added a major twist.

Austin Overn scored three touchdowns and threw for a TD to lead the No. 11 Knights to a 35-28 victory against No. 9 Villa Park in a game decided in the closing minutes at El Modena High.

Penn commit Patrick Hawkins sealed the victory with a sack on a fourth-and-4 from the Foothill 5-yard line with 3:33 left in the final quarter, allowing the Knights (8-1, 1-1) to run out the clock.

  • The Foothill High School football team celebrate with their coach Doug Case, center, after defeating Villa Park in a key Crestview League game in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Austin Overn, center, catches a pass between Villa Park cornerback Eddie Rodriguez Jr, left, and free safety Benjie Lewis, right, and is able to hang onto the ball as he falls to the ground in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely, right, is hit hard and knocked down by Foothill’s Dean Pistone, left, in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. Tempers flared after the play with a penalty assessed on Villa Park. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely, second from left, reaches out to shake hands with Foothill guard Reed Fergus (72) before leaving the game with an injured arm late in the fourth quarter in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park cornerback Eddie Rodriguez Jr, left, is called for pass interference on a pass intended for Foothill’s Austin Overn, right, in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Patrick Hawkins (85) and Austin Overn, right, celebrate with teammates after regaining possession of the ball from Villa Park with a little under four minutes remaining the game in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park fans get into the spirit of the game against Foothill in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely, right, scrambles to find a receiver as he his pursued by a Foothill defender in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely has his forearm immobilized after begin hurt on Villa Park’s last play of the game in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. Foothill took possession and ran out the clock to win the game. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Austin Overn, center, hits the ground after catching a pass but hangs onto the ball as he is double covered by Villa Park cornerback Eddie Rodriguez Jr, left, and free safety Benjie Lewis, right, in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Austin Overn jogs into the end zone to score a fourth quarter touchdown to put Foothill ahead of Villa Park 34-28 in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park cheerleaders perform for the crowd during a break in the action against Foothill in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • The Villa Park football team run onto the field before the start of the game against Foothill in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park cornerback Jackson Christie, right, is brought down by Foothill’s Reese Von Hemert, left, in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Matt Little powers his way toward the end zone to score a touchdown against Villa Park in the first quarter in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely, right, gets the ball over the goal line to score a touchdown against Foothill in the second quarter in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park quarterback Nathan Kornely, left, confers with coach h Dusan Ancich during the game against Foothill in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park fans cheer their team during the game against Foothill in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foothill’s Austin Overn dives into the end zone to score a touchdown against Villa Park in the first quarter in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Villa Park wide receiver Cole Cassara, right, beats Foothill’s Dean Pistone, left, but the pass falls incomplete in the second quarter in Orange on Friday, October 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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Foothill, coming off a loss in the final seconds to Yorba Linda, took a 35-27 lead on a sensational, 37-yard TD run by Overn with 9:15 left in the fourth. The speedy senior, committed to USC for baseball, bounced off a tackle at the 20-yard line and raced to the end zone.

Defending league champion Villa Park (7-2, 1-1) tied the score at 21-21 and 28-28 in the third quarter on a pair of touchdown passes by Nate Kornely, who passed for 302 yards despite playing with a sore shoulder. The reigning Crestview player of the year passed for three TDs and also rushed for a score before being shaken up on Hawkins’ final sack.

Kornely tossed a 26-yard TD to Diego Sanchez to cap the Spartans’ first possession of the third quarter and later connected on a 37-yarder to Cole Cassara with 53 seconds left in the third.

The Cassara TD came after Kornely bounced back from a hard hit by Foothill’s Dean Pistone and helped the Spartans answer a trick play by Foothill.

The Knights took a 28-21 lead in the middle of the third on a double-pass that featured Overn tossing a 65-yard strike to a wide open Brady Schrank.

Foothill sprinted to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind its ground attack and defense.

After the Knights forced Villa Park to turn the ball over on downs on the opening possession, Foothill marched 79 yards on three running plays to reach the end zone. Matt Little scored on a 4-yard run but sophomore Aaron Mitchell did the heavy lifting on the possession by breaking runs of 38 and 37 yards.

Mitchell finished with 165 yards on 15 carries.

Foothill inside linebacker Ethan Charpentier sparked the drive with a tackle for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Knights 21.

The junior then recovered a fumble on the second play of the ensuing possession, giving Foothill the ball at the Villa Park 32. Overn followed a few plays later with a 12-yard TD run as the Knights opened a 14-0 lead with 3:52 left in the first quarter.

Villa Park capitalized on a special teams miscue early in the second quarter to find its footing. The Spartans took over the Foothill 26 after a botched punt attempt and drove for a 3-yard TD run by Kornely.

Foothill kept the pressure on with a 78-yard scoring drive capped by a 11-yard TD pass from Brody Jones to a leaping Overn. Jon Fobear added the extra-point and the Knights led 21-7 with 6:11 left in the half.

Villa Park hung close with a scoring drive just before half. The Spartans drove from their 30 for a 7-yard TD pass from Kornely to Sanchez with 16 seconds left to trim Foothill’s lead to 21-14.

Next week, Villa Park closes out the regular season by playing host to Yorba Linda at El Modena High. Foothill plays host to El Modena at Tustin High.

 

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Sheriff: Baldwin fired prop gun that killed cinematographer

By MORGAN LEE and WALTER BERRY

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set and killed the cinematographer, authorities said. The director of the Western being filmed was wounded, and authorities are investigating what happened.

Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on the movie “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday on the rustic film set in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to County Sheriff’s officials.

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, though a charge without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill at a moderate distance. Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 63-year-old Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, the sheriff’s department said. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment.

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” International Cinematographers Guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.

Sheriff’s deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot on set, said Rios, the sheriff’s spokesman. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western “News of the World.”

“This investigation remains open and active,” Rios said in a statement. “No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”

Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello. She was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.

“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with her.

Baldwin teamed up as a producer previously with Souza on the 2019 film, “Crown Vic,” which starred Thomas Jane as a veteran Los Angeles police officer on a manhunt for two violent bank robbers. Souza’s first credited film, 2010’s “Hanna’s Gold,” was a treasure hunt adventure featuring Luke Perry.

Production was halted on “Rust.” The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s’ Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie “The Crow.” The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.

A Twitter account run by Lee’s sister Shannon said: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust.’ No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series “Cover Up.”

___

Berry reported from Phoenix. Associated Press film writer Jake Coyle contributed to this report.

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Cypress football rolls over Kennedy to clinch share of Empire title


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ANAHEIM >> Cypress football started fast and showed no signs of slowing down in the second half, and Tomas Ramirez ran for 141 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-6 win over Kennedy in an Empire League game Thursday night at Western High.

The No. 14 Centurions (7-2, 4-0) clinched a share of the league championship with the victory and can secure an outright title with a win over Valencia next week in the league finale.

Cypress coach Rick Feldman was pleased with the team’s effort, especially in the second half after building a 21-0 lead at the break.

“We challenged our O-line, specifically (in the second half),” Feldman said. “We’re going to come out in our double-tight set, and we came out and were real effective and dominated the second half. That was huge, I don’t think we threw a pass in the second half.”

Ramirez touched the ball on all four plays — covering 70 yards — on the team’s opening drive of the second half. The drive ended with the senior scoring on an 11-yard run.

Cypress’ Tomas Ramirez had 4 TDs in a 41-6 win over rival Kennedy. Ramirez credited his linemen tonight and also wants to win an outright league championship. @ocvarsity @CHSLineSixFB @CypHS_Athletics @TomasRamirez_04 pic.twitter.com/9r1JCem8ay

— David Delgado🇪🇨 (@DavidDelgado_OC) October 22, 2021

After Trevor Monteleone intercepted Kennedy quarterback Alex Herrera on the next possession, Ramirez scored on a 37-yard run to make it 34-0 with 4:46 remaining in the third quarter.

Kennedy (4-4, 1-3) was without star wide receiver Hunter Benton, who missed the game due to concussion protocol.

The Centurions defense held the Fighting Irish in check all night, recording four sacks and two turnovers, which included a fumble recovery by Muhammad Hassoneh. Carson St. Amand and Ayden Gomez combined for three of the four sacks.

“They’re great, two undersized, 180-pound guys, with motors that don’t stop, they play real fast,” Feldman said of St. Amand and Gomez.

Herrera and Niko Brown connected for Kennedy’s only touchdown late in the third quarter, which was a 76-yard completion.

Cypress quarterback Matthew Morrell was efficient in throwing for 145 yards all in the first half, which included a 55-yard strike to Ramirez for the game’s first score and a screen pass to Devin Cobb who turned that into a 42-yard touchdown and a 21-0 advantage.

Cypress ATH Devin Cobb had a great performance which included a 42-yd TD reception, 57 yards rushing and a PBU. Cobb looks forward to ending the season with a a win over Valencia next week. @ocvarsity @CHSLineSixFB @DevinKCobb1 pic.twitter.com/V6AQBNM3No

— David Delgado🇪🇨 (@DavidDelgado_OC) October 22, 2021

Sophomore Jesse Mauldin added a 2-yard touchdown run for the Centurions in the third quarter.

Feldman said Cypress will not look past the Tigers next week.

“They’re a real physical team that runs the ball real well,” Feldman said. “They’re going to be prepared and they’re going to play hard, so we have to play like we did in the second half today, and be able to match their physicality. If we can do that, I think we have a chance.”

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Orange County’s top committed football recruits, Oct. 20


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Top committed Orange County, Trinity League football recruits

Seniors, Class of 2022 

Cooper Barkate, Mater Dei, WR, 6-2, 190, Harvard

Raleek Brown, Mater Dei, RB, 5-8, 185, Oklahoma

Keyan Burnett, Servite, TE, 6-5, 200, Arizona

Nathan Burrell, St. John Bosco, DL, 6-3, 250, Cal

Kurt Chesney, Aliso Niguel, LS, 6-1, 220, Air Force

Noah Fifita, Servite, QB, 5-10, 170, Arizona

Mason Graham, Servite, DL, 6-4, 295, Michigan

Sione Hala, St. John Bosco, S, 6-2, 195, Boston College

Katin Houser, St. John Bosco, QB, 6-3, 200, Michigan State

Josh Hunter, Mater Dei, S, 5-10, 168, San Diego State

Blaze Iglesias, Orange, DE, 6-3, 255, Air Force

Domani Jackson, Mater Dei, CB, 6-1, 185, USC

Eoghan Kerry, Mater Dei, LB, 6-3, 234, Texas

Jacob Manu, Servite, LB, 5-11, 210, Arizona

Tetairoa McMillan, Servite, WR, 6-4, 185, Oregon

Braden Pegan, San Juan Hills, WR, 6-5, 195, UCLA

Jairus Satele, St. John Bosco, DL, 6-0, 270, Navy

Cameron Sidney, Mater Dei, CB, 5-11, 170, Cal

Adam Tomczyk, Los Alamitos, DL, 6-4, 265, Utah State

Taitai Uiagalelei, Mater Dei, DL, 6-5, 250, Washington State

CJ Williams, Mater Dei, WR, 6-2, 195, Notre Dame

Jalen Woods, St. John Bosco, LB, 6-0, 192, UCLA

Juniors, Class of 2023

Makai Lemon, Los Alamitos, WR/ATH, 5-11, 175, Oklahoma

Malachi Nelson, Los Alamitos, QB, 6-3, 180, Oklahoma

Deandre Moore Jr., Los Alamitos, WR/ATH, 5-11, 185, Oklahoma

Freshman, Class of 2025

Arron White, Orange, 6-2, 163, CB/ATH, Orange

Please send football recruiting news to Dan Albano at dalbano@scng.com or @ocvarsityguy Twitter

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NBA season tips off today: Lakers, Clippers and what you need to know

Another NBA season has arrived, and there’s plenty of reason to believe the next team to hoist the Larry O’Brien championship trophy could be one of the two that call Staples Center home.

The Lakers open their season Tuesday night with a home game against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors (7 p.m., TNT), while the Clippers travel to San Francisco for their season opener on Thursday night (7 p.m., TNT), also against the Warriors.

LeBron James and the Lakers spent training camp and preseason play trying to blend Russell Westbrook and a largely overhauled, veteran-heavy roster together while laughing off the steady stream of old-guy jokes and memes being volleyed in their direction.

Paul George and the Clippers are convinced that the confidence they gained and the chemistry they forged during their breakthrough run to the Western Conference finals will help offset the uncertainty of if/when All-Star Kawhi Leonard will rejoin them after rehabbing his knee injury. Will he make it back before the playoffs? If he does, will anyone want to tangle with them in a first-round series?

Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon and Clippers beat writer Mirjam Swanson have provided plenty to get you ready for the season ahead, and they’ll keep you informed until the final buzzer sounds in June. If you’re a fan of either team, you should be following Kyle and/or Mirjam on Twitter, if you’re not already doing so.

In case you missed anything recently, here is a list of links to some content to help get you caught up:

LAKERS

Russell Westbrook got what he wanted, but will he capitalize?

LeBron James’ patience will be tested by the team he helped create

Lakers are a target for scrutiny after superstar moves this summer

Lakers hope ‘chaos’ of off-ball movement adds to their offense

Lakers see their age as an advantage, not a punchline

With Trevor Ariza out, Lakers poised to lean on their size

In Lakers’ leisure world, Westbrook is a raging fountain of youth

DeAndre Jordan settles into new phase of his career

Lakers add Avery Bradley, bolstering defensive depth

Lakers rookie Austin Reaves thrust into duty as injuries mount

Lakers 2021-22 roster: A closer look

Lakers 2021-22 schedule: 5 can’t-miss games to watch

CLIPPERS

Paul George ready to lead with expanded role

Clippers miss Kawhi Leonard but appreciate his coaching

Tyronn Lue gets rave reviews for his in-game moves

Clippers’ Luke Kennard is serious about big fish, big shots

• Clippers won’t rush Kawhi Leonard’s recovery, Lawrence Frank says

Clippers believe Eric Bledsoe will fit right back in

Justise Winslow getting acclimated to wide-ranging role

Clippers celebrate Intuit Dome groundbreaking in Inglewood

Will the Clippers be ready when their Inglewood arena is done in 2024?

Clippers’ Steve Ballmer optimistic about short- and long-term prospects

Clippers 2021-22 roster: A closer look

Clippers 2021-22 schedule: 5 can’t-miss games to watch

LEAGUE-WIDE

Seemingly every title contender has serious question marks

Western Conference preview and predictions

Eastern Conference preview and predictions

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At first glance: Servite vs. Mater Dei matchup, Oct. 23

At first glance: Servite (8-0, 3-0) vs. Mater Dei (6-0, 3-0)

When: Saturday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m.

Where: Santa Ana Stadium

TV: Bally Sports West

MaxPreps national rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (8)

High School Football America national rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (20)

Calpreps state rankings: Mater Dei (1), Servite (2)

Tickets: Sold out in minutes Monday

Notable: Mater Dei has defeated Servite nine consecutive years in the rivalry. The Monarchs’ defense has been one of the keys, allowing no more than 22 points in any of the games. … Mater Dei leads the all-time series 41-17-2.  … The Monarchs are averaging 50.8 points, just ahead of the Friars at 49.8. Mater Dei is holding opponents to average of 9.5 points while Servite limits teams to 11.2. … In the spring, Mater Dei defeated Servite 24-17 in a penalty-married game at Santa Ana Stadium. The Monarchs were flagged 22 times for 201 yards, including several for pass interference against wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan (six catches for 107 yards). Mater Dei’s defense was led by David Bailey (four sacks) and cornerback Cam Sidney (interception return for TD). … Sophomore Elijah Brown of Mater Dei and senior Noah Fifita of Servite are two of the best QBs in the county.

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Alexander: Dodgers finding not all 0-2 NLCS deficits are alike

If there was a moment Sunday night that reminded us that this isn’t last year, it was the renewal of the Will Smith vs. Will Smith rivalry in the ninth inning in suburban Atlanta.

Will The Elder gave up a memorable home run to Will The Younger during the 2020 Dodgers-Braves National League Championship Series. When they faced each other Sunday night, Will the Younger struck out swinging on a slider for the second out of the ninth inning.

One vignette, true. But maybe here’s another: Julio Urías, the Dodgers’ accidental but oh, so successful closer of 2020, came into the game to start the eighth inning Sunday night with a 4-2 lead – and gave up three hits and the tying runs, only escaping further damage by striking out Joc Pederson and pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza to strand the go-ahead run on second base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game that he considered Urías his best option at that point, even after Blake Treinen needed just nine pitches to get through the seventh.

“We talked about it before the series, and he was available (Saturday) night if it came to the situation, but it didn’t,” Roberts said. “He hadn’t thrown a bullpen and he was the best option at that point in time. He was prepared for it.”

Not only did Urías struggle, but those 14 pitches might have compromised him for his scheduled start on Wednesday in Game 4. Max Scherzer, with two days of rest after his 13-pitch save of Game 5 on Thursday night in San Francisco, made it through 79 pitches and, somewhat uncharacteristically but absolutely candidly, acknowledged to Roberts that he was spent.

Somehow, the idea of “five and dive, and be ready to throw a high-stress inning out of the bullpen in a couple of days” might not be a sustainable strategy. Atlanta’s Brian Snitker hasn’t seen the need to use any of his starters in relief yet, but he used every one of his relievers last night and has used Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson and Smith (The Elder) each of the first two games. And, unlike last year, there are days off in this series.

One more reminder that it’s different? Joctober still exists, only now it’s dreaded instead of welcomed in the Dodgers’ dugout. Joc Pederson wiped out the Dodgers’ first lead with a two-run home run in the fourth – specifically, a booming, 454-foot drive off Scherzer. As this series goes on, Pederson – no longer just a platoon player – has to be reckoned with.

There is this thought, which could be comforting if you still hold onto memories of 2020: The Braves were up 2-0 in last year’s series. They’re up 2-0 in this series after Eddie Rosario’s shot up the middle and under Corey Seager’s glove drove in the winning run, on Kenley Jansen’s first and only pitch of the game in the ninth inning, for a 5-4 Atlanta victory.

But do you really want to have to run the elimination game gamut again? No matter how battle-tested you might be, when you roll those dice too often you’ll lose at some point.

And here’s the biggest difference, so far, between this year and last year: Those Dodgers were noted for scoring runs with two outs: 59 through 19 postseason games. That’s the sign of a team capable of cashing in opportunities and adjusting as necessary to get it done.

These Dodgers are hitting under .200 with runners in scoring position through eight games this postseason: 13 for 68, or .191. They were 1 for 10 Sunday night. The one was Chris Taylor’s two-run double in the seventh, a sinking liner that center fielder Guillermo Heredia – who had entered the game that inning – couldn’t get to and then overran, seemingly unsure whether to try to dive or to short-hop it.

Otherwise? They left 10 men on base. They had men on first and second with one out in the third, but Gavin Lux popped up and Taylor struck out. They had first and second with two outs in the fifth, after Mookie Betts walked and stole second and Smith (the Younger) was intentionally walked with two outs, and Lux flied to left.

They got Taylor to third with one out in the sixth, and AJ Pollock and pinch-hitter Albert Pujols struck out. They re-loaded the bases after Taylor’s hit in the seventh, and Pollock struck out. And Trea Turner hit the first pitch from Smith (The Elder) to the wall in left field, but Rosario ran it down.

It’s a problem we’ve seen all season, and now it’s recurring at the worst possible time. And yes, the approach has been an issue.

“It’s an approach thing,” Roberts said. “I think that certain times in scoring position, we’re expanding (the strike zone) too much.”

But here’s the biggest difference from 2020 (besides, of course, the fact that the core of this group now knows what it’s like to win a championship): They’re going to be playing the middle games at home, where they were 58-23 during the regular season and are 2-1 so far in the postseason.

And if ever they needed the extra push from a spirited home crowd, it’s now.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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Sacha Kljestan’s late penalty lifts Galaxy to win over Portland Timbers

  • LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams, center, heads the ball during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, right, controls the ball in front of Portland Timbers midfielder Cristhian Paredes during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark (12) stops a shot from LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams defends against Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco (10) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, right, heads the ball during the first half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Portland Timbers forward Yimmi Chara (23) tries to kick the ball, as LA Galaxy defender Nick DePuy heads it during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Portland Timbers forward Yimmi Chara controls the ball during the first half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Portland Timbers defender Pablo Bonilla, left, dribbles past LA Galaxy forward Kevin Cabral (9) during the first half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan scores on a penalty kick during the second half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan, center, celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the second half against the Portland Timbers in an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Efrain Alvarez, right, dribbles against the Portland Timbers during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy defender Derrick Williams, right, works against Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, right, reacts after a missed shot on a goal during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget, right, dribbles against the Portland Timbers during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, center left, celebrates with a teammate after a win over the Portland Timbers during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, left, reacts after a foul during the second half of an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez, center, celebrates after a win over the Portland Timbers during an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) kicks the ball into the net for a goal during the second half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco, center (10) is hugged by teammates after his goal during the second half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo leaps over Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) celebrates his goal next to Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Clark during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez (14) kicks the ball into the net for a goal during the second half of the team’s MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond, left, watches as the ball goes over his head for a goal on a kick from Portland Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan, center, celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick against the Portland Timbers during the second half of an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • LA Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan, center, celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the second half against the Portland Timbers in an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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CARSON — At times this season the Galaxy looked to be a lock for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

In the cruel world of Major League Soccer, it is best not to count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Saturday, feeling the crunch on the season and the weight of a nine-game winless streak, the Galaxy finally exhaled a bit thanks to a Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s 62nd minute goal and later Sacha Kljestan’s successful penalty, to lead the way to a 2-1 win and breathed some much-needed life into its playoff lives.

“For sure there was an exhale,” Galaxy coach Greg Vanney said. “But I do feel like from the group there was a confidence building, it was something that they deserved, they’ve deserved it I felt during this stretch and we didn’t get it. I hope the group feels like there is a shift in momentum here that we got over the hump and we got a real opportunity in the coming week to take more points.”

With the game tied at 1-1, Efrain Alvarez on the ball, made two cutting moves and was fouled in the box and referee Victor Rivas pointed to the penalty spot in the second minute of stoppage time..

Kljestan stepped up and converted, just under Portland goalkeeper Steve Clark.

“I thought were in total control, we had a lot of possession, we created some great chances and it felt like one of those games in the first half where, they were going to get one chance and they were going to score,” Kljestan said. “They scored a fluky goal and you go, oh no, not again.

“To get that win in the end, I think it is a big exhale for everybody and now, hopefully, it is start of winning streak or an unbeaten run.”

Kljestan never hesitated with his kick, going to Clark’s right and beating him. He said he doesn’t focus on the goalkeeper’s tendencies.

“I don’t pay attention to the goalies,” he said. “I decide the morning of the game where I’m going to shoot if I get a penalty. This morning, I had a feeling we were going to get a penalty, I just didn’t know if I would be on the field to take it or not. I knew when I put the ball down, I was going to shoot that way.”

With the win, the Galaxy, who could have fallen below the playoff line if results went a certain way on Sunday, moved up to sixth on 42 points, tied with Real Salt Lake.

The Galaxy is now 12-11-6 with five games remaining

The Galaxy’s opening goal was much deserved considering how the Galaxy dominated the game in the first half and into the second half.

Still, it came from a bit of nothing. Julian Araujo’s cross for the far post. Portland defender Larry’s Mabiala, instead of clearing the ball, leapt over it, thinking it was going to roll out. However, Hernandez didn’t quit, going low with a slide to poke the ball in.

In the 72nd minute, Portland’s Sebastian Blanco found himself unmarked on the left and shot in a chip shot that eluded Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond to make it 1-1.

The goal sucked the life out of the crowd as the game went into the additional four minutes of added time, it looked as if the Galaxy was headed for what would have been a disappointing draw.

This was the third meeting of the season between the teams. They had split the previous two.

The Galaxy started the game looking like a team that had figured things out, putting the Timbers under pressure from the outset of the game. Unfortunately, despite the pressure and the near chances, the final act of putting the ball into the goal was never accomplished, sending the teams into halftime scoreless.

The Galaxy will return to action Wednesday on the road at the Houston Dynamo.

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Cameron Goods helps Irvine football knock off Dana Hills and stay unbeaten

DANA POINT >> The Irvine football team’s dream season showed no signs of slowing down as the Vaqueros dominated Dana Hills 47-28 in a Pacific Hills League game at Dana Hills High on Friday Night.

The Vaqueros (8-0, 1-0) are off to their best start since the 2000 season, a year that ended in a perfect 14-0 record and a CIF-SS championship.

Cameron Goods lead the way with 256 yards on 31 carries and three touchdowns, and Irvine coach Tom Ricci wonders when more people will begin to notice his star running back.

“Cameron Goods is a special running back,” Ricci said. “I’m blown away that he doesn’t get the recognition that I think he deserves. I’m a fan, I love watching him (play).”

The Dolphins struck on their first play from scrimmage when Bo Kelly threw a short pass to Owen Chambers, who avoided a tackle and sprinted to the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead after just 12 seconds.

“Bo Kelly is a heck of a QB,” Ricci said. “We knew he was going to score. We didn’t know he was going to score on the first play, but our goal all week was bend but don’t break on defense and control the ball on offense.”

The Vaqueros came up with some big plays of their own as Mihir Dhodia caught a 47-yard pass and Tate Zimmerman had a 14-yard run on a drive that was capped by Joseph Tierney’s 8-yard TD pass to Jack Condon to make it 8-6 after a successful 2-point conversion.

Irvine went up 21-6 on touchdown runs by Zimmerman and Goods before Dana Hills (6-2, 0-1) responded with another long strike, this one a 77-yard connection from Kelly to Chambers, to make it 21-14 with 3:26 left in the second quarter.

Irvine running back Cameron Goods (31 car, 256 yds, 3 TDs) speaks on how great it felt to get this league win over Dana Hills. The Vaqueros face Portola next week. @ocvarsity @VaqueroFootball @camerongoodies pic.twitter.com/CJL8m6KZiq

— David Delgado🇪🇨 (@DavidDelgado_OC) October 16, 2021

The duo hooked up on all four scores for the Dolphins. Kelly finished with 404 yards passing and four touchdowns and Chambers recorded six catches for 223 yards and four touchdowns.

The Vaqueros proceeded to score 19 consecutive points. They did it with a 31-yard field goal by Zimmerman before halftime, two touchdown runs by Goods in the third quarter and a safety on Nick Rudolph’s sack of Kelly in the end zone.

Irvine will look to stay unbeaten when it takes on Portola (7-1) in a league game next week. Portola lost to Laguna Hills, 10-0, on Friday night.

The game, on Friday, Oct. 22, will feature two of the top running backs in Orange County in the Bulldogs’ Nova Kebeli and Goods.

“This is the showdown for the Fence Post,” Ricci said of facing their in-city rival. “It means a ton to our kids. We didn’t get that opportunity last year, so this is our opportunity. We know coach (Peter) Abe and those guys will have a great scheme for us coming and it’s going to be a smashmouth game.”

 

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