On the first play of the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division semifinal game between Nipomo and Linfield Christian on Friday night in Nipomo, Lorenzo Burns took a handoff 62 yards for the score.
The Lions never looked back.
The vaunted Nipomo defense couldn’t stop the speedy Burns and fell to Linfield Christian, 35-14.
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Burned: After taking the opening play for a touchdown, Burns had two more touchdown runs of 50 yards or more. He finished the game with 262 yards rushing on 18 carries and three touchdowns. Nipomo head coach Tony Dodge said it was his team’s worst tackling game of the season, but the speed and shifty feet of Burns played a big role. The biggest run came following a Nipomo turnover on downs. Burns looked to be stopped on a 3-and-20, but he made a handful of Titans defenders miss and took it 50 yards for the score to put Linfield Christian up 35-7 in the third quarter.
Fumble troubles: The Titans had trouble hanging on to the ball during the cold, windless night. A fumbled exchange on a handoff on Nipomo’s second drive of the night led to a touchdown to make it 14-0 Linfield Christian. The Lions were also able to turn Nipomo’s second fumble of the night into points in the third quarter, a Zac Archer run that made it 28-7 halfway through the third quarter. After not fumbling all season, running back Antonio Navarro had three fumbles in the playoffs.
Navarro ends on high note: Despite the costly fumble, Navarro carried the Nipomo offense all night, just as he has done all season. Navarro grinded out 133 yards on 23 carries. He also scored on a 8-yard run at the end of the first half to make it 21-7 and keep Nipomo within striking distance.
Season ends: After winning the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division championship last season, the Titans were unable to repeat but went further than many expected considering and further than Northern League champs Mission Prep. The Titans finished the season with a 7-6 overall record.