Orange Lutheran plays Tustin this week, and one thing is certain in the mind of coach Jim Kunau: His team better be more focused on the Tillers than they were on Garfield.
Quarterback Clark Livingston played fairly well, but the team managed only a 15-3 victory over the City Section school even though the Lancers out-gained their opponent, 370 yards to 110. They were guilty of uncharacteristic – and undisciplined – penalties and turnovers in the only scheduled meeting between the schools.
“I did a poor job of getting them ready, we just didn't play very well,” Kunau said, taking sole responsibility for his team's performance. “Garfield was tough and physical, but I think getting focused and being all-in will be a lot easier this week.”
That's because an unfocused performance against double-wing Tustin will get you hurt. The Tillers are typically one of the strongest and most physical teams in Orange County. They are coming off a 42-21 defeat against Upland, one of the best teams in the Inland Empire, even though Tyler Siudzinski gained 142 yards.
In 2005, Tustin staged one of the biggest upsets of the playoffs with a 42-23 first-round victory in Division VI over second-seeded Lutheran; the following season, Lutheran won the Pac-5 title and the Division II State Bowl Championship. The teams began playing preleague games in 2008 and OLu has won 10-0 and 46-20.
They play at Tustin Friday, 7 p.m.
“We had a bunch of big penalties and dropped passes," Kunau said of the Garfield game. "We didn't look like a very good team. I think all of us were a little embarrassed by our lack of discipline and execution.
“We were like a car that needed a tuneup, the kind making a lot of noise. We were a clunker."