Orange survives nerve-wracking finish to improve record to 4-0 – Orange County Register

ORANGE – Orange used a hot start to build a 23-point lead and then outlasted Sequoia of Redwood City for a 23-16 victory on Thursday at El Modena High.

The Panthers, who scored all 23 of their points in the first half, are off to a 4-0 start for the second consecutive season.

The Panthers built a 23-7 lead by halftime, but didn’t score in the second half and allowed nine fourth-quarter points.

Sequoia had a chance to tie the score with one-minute remaining, but sophomore defensive back Brian Fausto intercepted a pass on fourth down to seal the victory for Orange.

Orange receiver Jordan Schmidt caught two touchdown passes – 18 and 74 yards – and had an interception.

“Jordan’s a ballplayer,” Orange coach Robert Pedroza said. “The Sequoia coach even said ‘he’s fast on film but he’s even faster in person,’ and he creates plays for us.”

Jason Wilkinson threw for three touchdown passes for the Panthers, increasing his season total to 10. Nine of those scoring passes were caught by Orange’s speedy receivers, Schmidt and Syrus Collins.

“I firmly believe that our speed is the difference between this year’s team and what we had last year,” Pedroza said. “We have the capability of going 80 yards in a heartbeat with multiple guys.”

Wilkinson threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Collins on the opening possession of the game to give Orange an 8-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Sequoia’s offense drove the ball to midfield. On third down and short, Schmidt intercepted a pass and returned the ball into the red zone. A few plays later, Wilkinson threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Schmidt to extend the lead to 17-7.

The duo connected again for a 74-yard touchdown pass on Orange’s next possession.

Orange began the 2016 season in dominating fashion as well. The Panthers got off to a 6-0 start before finding out they had to forfeit their victory against Santa Ana for playing an ineligible player. Orange lost its next two games and missed the CIF-SS playoffs.

“We have a lot of kids still in…

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