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Fryer: Rising teams make big statements
It was a great night for the Trinity League team that was impressive against a higher-ranked opponent.
We’re not talking about Mater Dei’s 24-7 victory over Santa Margarita, although that was notable.
JSerra lost to St. John Bosco of Bellflower, 44-41, in overtime. Bosco is ranked No. 7 in the latest Pac-5 Division rankings.
JSerra is not even in the “others receiving votes” category because not one coach who votes in that top 10 included JSerra anywhere on his ballot.
JSerra trailed, 24-0. Somehow, Coach Jim Hartigan and staff got the Lions to adopt that one-play-at-a-time attitude needed to overcome such a deficit. Of course, players who believe in themselves make such a comeback happen, too.
It is the type of game that might be looked upon as the day JSerra turned the corner. The Lions did beat Orange Lutheran last year for their first Trinity League triumph. But that was a Lutheran team that did not make the playoffs.
St. John Bosco is not only No. 7 in the Pac-5 Division, but is No. 11 in the state (there are three Trinity teams in the state top 25).
JSerra was not the only team that had a “statement game” Friday night.
El Toro beat Tesoro, 41-31. There was plenty of wonder about how El Toro would handle being moved up into the South Coast League this year. The Chargers beat San Clemente last week, but San Clemente is not close to the Tritons team that went to the Pac-5 championship game last season.
Tesoro is ranked No. 7 in California. El Toro is No. 21 in the state and, with its 8-0 overall record and 2-0 mark in the South Coast League, is going to climb that ladder.
Orange Lutheran beat Servite, 28-14. That is the Lancers’ first league victory over Servite. It keeps Lutheran (6-1 overall, 1-1 in league) in position to win a playoff berth, although the Lancers still have to play Santa Margarita, Mater Dei and JSerra.
There was another first for Orange Lutheran on Friday.
After decades of wearing red-and-white uniforms, the Lancers took the field against Servite, of all teams, in black uniforms with red trim. Comments received from Lutheran alums and former coaches were unanimous in their disapproval.
But the players love the black uniforms. Mission Viejo made black a prominent color in their football uniforms a few years ago, while retaining touches of the school’s traditional red and yellow colors. Black uniforms make players feel tougher, but we have seen the San Diego Chargers in powder blue kick the stuffings out of the black-attired Raiders quite a few times.
Another group of men in black, Tustin, continues to look like it will be 10-0 at the end of the regular season.
The Tillers squashed Cypress, 63-14. The Tillers (8-0, 4-0) have a bye next week before finishing with league games against two struggling teams, Western and Kennedy.
The tough-luck team in county football the past two weeks might be El Modena. The Vanguards lost by three points last week to El Dorado, then lost by a touchdown to Brea Olinda on Friday. El Modena is 0-4 in league, with three league games remaining.
On Thursday, Garden Grove probably put itself on the path to the Garden Grove League championship with a solid 56-14 victory over Los Amigos. Last week, Los Amigos beat league-favorite Rancho Alamitos, 38-0. Garden Grove is a very well-rounded team and will make a deep run in the Southern Division playoffs next month.
Edison beat perhaps its top competition in the Sunset League, Los Alamitos. The Chargers (6-1, 2-0) have league games remaining against Marina, Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach.
Dana Hills is enjoying league play. The Dolphins were 1-5 in nonleague play, but in league have beaten Capistrano Valley and Aliso Niguel. They have another big one in this tight league next week, against Laguna Hills which beat Aliso on Friday.
Mission Viejo had last week off, and was not rusty this week. The Diablos won their first South Coast League game of 2012, and easily, 45-7, over San Clemente.
Nothing comes easy in the Trinity League.
And it was not an easy night for JSerra. But it was a memorable one.