Lancers answer Palmer’s halftime challenge

Frankie Palmer simply wouldn’t allow La Serna High’s football team to lose Friday night.
The Lancers trailed visiting Burbank by a touchdown twice in their CIF-SS Southeast Division semifinal at Cal High, once in the first quarter and once in the third. But Palmer and his teammates were determined to reach their third consecutive Southeast Division final, and losing to the Bulldogs simply wasn’t part of the plan.
Burbank scored on a pair of big plays in the first quarter, including one set up by La Serna’s only turnover of the game. With the score tied at 14 at halftime, Palmer lit into his teammates with an NC-17 tirade during the intermission, demanding they raise their intensity level or answer to him personally.
“We came out flat,” Palmer said of the 11-2 Lancers, who had pounded their last seven opponents into submission by the time halftime came around. “In the last (seven) games, we hadn’t been in that situation. “We knew Burbank was a great team and it wouldn’t be easy.
“It wasn’t our greatest game,” Palmer allowed, “but we got it done.”
The Bulldogs (10-3) regained the lead on their first drive of the second half when Oharjee Brown caught a ball that deflected off two La Serna defenders and scored a 38-yard touchdown. Palmer, however, scored the Lancers’ next two touchdowns, including the game-winner with just 23 seconds left. Both came on runs to the right, covering 2 and 3 yards. He also completed 12 of 23 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
“That’s Frankie,” said La Serna coach Margarito Beltran. “Put the ball in his hands with the game on the line, and usually good things happen.”
La Serna’s defense gave up three long touchdowns, but also made huge plays when they needed them. The Lancers stopped Burbank on fourth down twice in the first half, including on fourth-and-goal from the 1 when the Bulldogs were looking to take a 21-7 lead.
But the single biggest play came from safety D’Andre Sanchez, who intercepted Burbank quarterback Ryan Meredith and returned it 34 yards for a TD in the second quarter, tying the game at 14.
Just three plays earlier, Sanchez had been flagged for pass interference.
“I saw the ball under thrown and just tried to make a play on it,” said the senior.
The victory means La Serna will play in its third consecutive Southeast Division final, where they’ll meet top-seeded and undefeated Norwalk next Saturday. The site of the game will be determined later today.

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