Santa Margarita's KJ Costello fumbles as he his hit by Mater Dei's Sal Aguilar during the first half in a Trinity League game at Trabuco Hills High in Mission Viejo on Friday.

Mater Dei tops Santa Margarita to lock up second spot in Trinity


MISSION VIEJO – Mater Dei got an education last week and applied the lessons this week.

The Monarchs thoroughly beat Santa Margarita, 45-14, in a Trinity League game at Trabuco Hills on Friday, the final day of the regular season.

Mater Dei locked up second place and will be the Trinity League’s No. 2 playoff representative in the CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs. The Monarchs, 8-2 overall, will play another league’s No. 2 or No. 3 team in next week’s first round, either in a home game or an away game.

POSTGAME TALK: How Mater Dei reenergized itself

Santa Margarita finished last in the Trinity with a 1-4 league record. The Eagles, 5-5 overall, will not be in the playoffs.

CIF-SS football brackets will be released Sunday and will be available at upon release.

Mater Dei lost to JSerra last week, 35-28. Monarchs senior linebacker Kapono Laguisan said his team was not mentally prepared for that game after working over Servite, 42-10, the previous week.

“We came in a little cocky because we did a number on Servite,” Laguisan said. “That ultimately killed us.”

Mater Dei’s defense certainly came back to life against Santa Margarita. The Monarchs got six turnovers on four interceptions and two fumble recoveries, sacked Eagles’ star Stanford-committed quarterback KJ Costello six times and shut out Santa Margarita in the second half.

Laguisan had two sacks and recovered a fumble. Jalen Cole had two interceptions and recovered a fumble. Fa’avae Fa’avae had 31/2 sacks. Quentin Lake had two interceptions.

Cole also returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Brandon LaMarche rushed for 248 yards, including touchdown runs of 67 and 25 yards. Freshman quarterback JT Daneils threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns, both to Osiris St. Brown, who did not play in the JSerra game because injury. St. Brown had 125 receiving yards on four catches.

Daniels threw 28 regular-season touchdown passes.

Costello concluded his high school career with 356 yards passing. He completed 23 of 39 passes.

Mater Dei and Santa Margarita qualified for the Pac-5 Division playoffs last year. Mater Dei advanced to the second round, where the Monarchs were eliminated by Centennial of Corona. Santa Margarita lost in the first round to Crespi of Encino.

Mater Dei had a 21-14 lead at halftime. Three plays into the second half, LaMarche took off on his 67-yard touchdown run. He added the 25-yard scoring run later in the quarter. In the fourth quarter, St. Brown got his second touchdown catch and Chase McGrath kicked a 27-yard field goal.

Santa Margarita’s first possession ended with the punt that Cole returned 90 yards for a TD with the help of a block by Jedidiah Smith, and a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles came right back to tie it on their ensuing possession. Costello connected with Grant Calcaterra on a 76-yard touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, Mater Dei defensive back Quentin Lake recovered a fumble at the Santa Margarita 37. On the next play, Daniels threw the 37-yard touchdown pass to St. Brown to put the Monarchs ahead again, 14-7.

Mater Dei put together an 11-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Daniels to Nikko Remigio to make it 21-7.

Santa Margarita’s Noah Canty made an interception later in the second quarter to set up an Eagles touchdown – a 42-yard, perfectly-placed pass from Costello to Dylan Crawford, who would finish with 103 receiving yards, as the receiver crossed the goal line. That made it 21-14, Mater Dei, at halftime.

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