Fryer: No. 1 team more than just one player


Everyone was so focused on the quarterback that we lost sight of what really makes Santa Margarita good.

The Eagles have the best offensive and defensive lines in O.C. football.

Santa Margarita quarterback Johnny Stanton, a CIF player of the year last season, is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL two weeks ago. The Eagles had a bye last week, giving Coach Harry Welch and staff extra time to get Stanton’s replacement ready to play Servite in the Trinity League opener for both Friday at Saddleback College.



Josh Canty, a junior, played quarterback in the first half. Sophomore Kyle Sweet replaced him to start the second half. They did enough to help Santa Margarita beat Servite, 21-0, for the Eagles’ third shutout victory that makes them 6-0 overall.

Whoever it was calling signals had the benefit of working behind the great offensive line of Frank DiPietro, Austin Maihen, Dane Crane, Ryan Kilander and Riley Sorenson.

And leading the shutout was the Eagles’ outstanding defensive line that includes senior Nick Begg and juniors Nick Dehdashtian, Hunter Graham and Taylor Prenovost.

Servite continues to struggle, which should not be shocking given the small number of senior starters and the challenging schedule. The Friars have been shut out three times in their past four games.

Santa Margarita is off to a fine start in league. Next week, the Eagles play host to Mater Dei, which cruised to an easy victory over JSerra on Friday night.

Most people expected Tesoro to cruise against Trabuco Hills. But the Mustangs hung in there with the Titans. Tesoro escaped with a 35-28 victory.

In the Sunset League, Huntington Beach won a crucial one against Fountain Valley, 13-10. It looks as if Edison and Los Alamitos are the league’s best teams, with the other four teams fighting for third place that represents the league’s final guaranteed playoff berth. Newport Harbor is in that hunt, and that’s Fountain Valley’s opponent next week.

Here was another result closer than most would have predicted: La Habra 20, Troy 19. Buena Park was tabbed to be La Habra’s top challenger in the Freeway League, but the Coyotes lost big to Sonora, 30-14.

Tustin continues to look like it will go 6-0 in the Empire League, and 10-0 in the regular season. The Tillers, who might have the best collection of backfield talent ever at a school known for running backs, won big again. They walloped Pacifica, 56-0.

In the game that just might have decided the Century League championship, Villa Park toughed out a 25-21 victory over Foothill. Meki Tafuna was the big horse running the football, and linebacker Grant Klasna led the defense that harassed Foothill quarterback Jack Gilchrist all night.

The Sea View League is living up to its reputation of being the most balanced group in the county. Laguna Hills and Dana Hills won close games on the first day of league play.

And Century is in first place. Sure, it’s only early October and we’re only one game into league. But the Centurions’ 18-16 victory over Savanna in the Orange League opener for both has Century in first place.

Speaking of firsts … John Barnes became the first coach in Orange County football history to get to 300 victories. That happened Thursday when Los Alamitos beat Marina.

It was a special week for Barnes. And Santa Margarita looks like, no matter the quarterback, it could be on the path to another special year.

See archived 'Steve Fryer' stories »

Other Varsity coverage:
Inland Empire
Search Players


La Serna 21, Tesoro 28 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Mullen 25, Orange Lutheran 49 - 02:48 4th QT - Completed


Estancia 7, University 37 - 00:10 4th QT - Completed


Redondo Union 12, Mission Viejo 49 - 02:04 4th QT - Completed


Huntington Beach 6, San Juan Hills 38 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


El Modena 10, Villa Park 29 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Capistrano Valley 17, Trabuco Hills 10 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Beckman 17, Tustin 34 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Azusa 7, Brethren Christian 69 - 00:00 4th QT - Completed


Valencia 7, Troy 35 - 06:49 4th QT - Completed