Saddleback Valley Christian receiver Savaii Cravens, right, makes a touchdown catch during Friday's CIF-SS East Valley Division second-round playoff game against St. Margaret's.

SVC unseats St. Margaret's


SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – A year after St. Margaret’s knocked off Saddleback Valley Christian en route to a championship, the Warriors got some payback Friday night.

Saddleback Valley Christian won the turnover battle, five to one, and held on to defeat defending CIF champion St. Margaret’s, 28-25, in a CIF-SS East Valley Division second-round game at St. Margaret’s.

Second-seeded SVC (12-0) will play host to Crean Lutheran (9-3) in the semifinals next week at a site to be determined. SVC opened the season with a 40-21 win over Crean Lutheran at Irvine High.

“Tonight was a crazy game,” SVC senior David Molina said. “Our defense made some great picks and came together, pulled together and pulled through.”

The Warriors defense pulled in four interceptions, recovered a fumble and an onside kick to turn the tables on St. Margaret’s (9-3).

“They came up huge,” SVC coach Brendan Chambers said. “We knew that if they put the ball up in the air, we had enough athletes to make plays. I’m super proud of that defensive secondary group.”

St. Margaret’s coach Stephen Barbee said his team came in with a “we’re the champs” mindset, things quickly changed.

Dalton Lohman’s interception on St. Margaret’s third play led to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Cade Henjum to Molina for an early 7-0 lead.

St. Margaret’s responded as George Krantz found Nick Shanks for an 8-yard TD pass to tie the game.

St. Margaret’s took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, but not for long as Lohman scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-10 lead.

SVC recovered the ensuing short kick, and Henjum threw the ball up to Savai’i Cravens, who wrestled it away from Shanks in the air for a 21-yard touchdown and a 21-10 lead at halftime.

Jake McFarland got St. Margaret’s only turnover with an interception on SVC’s opening drive of the second half. The Tartans capitalized with an 11-yard touchdown run by Krantz that cut SVC’s lead to 21-17.

Molina intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards to set up a 6-yard TD run by Ryan De Viso for a 28-17 lead.

Auston Locke caught a touchdown pass for St. Margaret’s with 19 seconds left, but SVC recovered the onside kick.

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