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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Mike Magana's heroics allowed Los Alamitos' Richard Yukihiro, right, and his teammates to celebrate a victory.

Fryer: Los Al's Magana comes out on top

STAFF COLUMNIST

Sports offers plenty of second chances.

In baseball, a batter can go 0 for 4 one day then come back the next and deliver the key hit.

A basketball player can’t find the basket one night, and then the next he can’t miss.

And in football a player can fumble a punt return in his own end of the field and later make the big play that helps his team win the game.

Los Alamitos senior Mike Magana muffed a punt return in the first half of his team’s game against Villa Park. And he later made the big play. And another big play, and then another as Los Alamitos beat Villa Park, 19-14, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 first-round playoff game at El Modena High.

Magana blocked a Villa Park field-goal attempt, made an interception in his team’s end zone to stop a Villa Park touchdown drive, caught a touchdown pass and threw a pass completion that set up the Griffins’ winning touchdown.

Magana didn’t dodge Los Alamitos coach Ray Fenton on the sideline after the muffed punt.

“Mike said, ‘I got it,’” Fenton said after the game. “He knew he screwed up. But he kept playing hard.”

He kept making plays, too, and having fun.

“I loved this game,” Magana said. “It was loud, competitive. Everything was great.”

So are second chances.

Elsewhere under the lights …

• El Modena might have been rooting for San Dimas on Friday night. El Modena beat Sunny Hills, 35-13, in a Divison 8 first-round game Thursday. If San Dimas beat Rio Mesa of Oxnard on Friday, then El Modena would have had a home game against San Dimas. But Rio Mesa won, so El Modena must travel to Oxnard for a Division 8 second-round game next week.

• When two teams meet after the first round of the playoffs, the team with the fewest number of home playoff games at that point of the playoffs is the home team. If the teams have had the same number of playoff home games, then a coin flip determines the winner. Contingency coin flips for the second round were made last Sunday. Coin flips where they might be needed to decide semifinals home teams will happen Saturday morning with coin-flip results to be posted at cifss.org shortly thereafter.

• Rio Mesa has zero playoff home games and El Modena has one. Thus, Rio Mesa is the home team.

• Santa Margarita’s improvement continues. The Eagles didn’t look all that ready for the season to start when they lost to Mission Viejo in their season opener back in August. They played very well last week in a win over Servite and furthered their trajectory Friday with a 27-14 road win over Serra of Gardena, the No. 9 team in the CalHiSports.com California top 25.

• It looks like Mission Viejo is going to be just fine in the Division 1 playoffs, which Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson has maintained is not where his team should be. He has a point – there are valid reasons why public schools should not be mixed into a division with Southern California’s larger private schools. The Diablos played a great second half to beat Servite, 49-28, and show that they can handle the Division 1 competition.

• St. Margaret’s, which has played in the CIF-SS’s lowest division for many years, took a significant step up when it was placed into Division 7. The Tartans handled the challenge quite well Friday, beating North Torrance, 55-14.

• Segerstrom is 3-1 against other Santa Ana schools. The Jaguars beat Valley, 17-7, in a Division 12 first-round game. They earlier this season beat Santa Ana schools Godinez and Saddleback. Their only loss to a city school was against Santa Ana.

• Final score on Aug. 26: Cypress 20, Woodbridge 14. Final score in a Division 9 game Friday: Woodbridge 35, Cypress 21.

• La Habra perhaps got the biggest upset win of the night, among O.C. teams. The Highlanders knocked off third-seeded and state No. 14 Oaks Christian.

Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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