The game: KJ Costello, among the top quarterback prospects in the nation, did not play for Santa Margarita. Costello, a senior who committed to Stanford, injured his right ankle, his plant ankle, in the Eagles’ loss last week to St. John Bosco. Richard Wagner, a junior, started against JSerra. He was part of all four Santa Margarita touchdowns, throwing three touchdown passes. Matt Mark ran for a 35-yard touchdown run out of the wildcat formation. The Eagles defense shut out JSerra in the fourth quarter in which Wagner connected with Grant Calcaterra for a 52-yard touchdown pass for the winning points. Calcaterra and Wagner combined for a 66-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.
Key to the game: Santa Margarita’s defense. The Eagles were confident that JSerra’s passing game would not be a problem, so they focused on the stropping JSerra’s running attack. That worked, as they held Avery Williams to 63 yards, almost 50 yards below Williams yards-per-game average.
Player of the game: While Wagner was good, teammate Alec Stewart was great. Stewart, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior defensive lineman, had 11 solo tackles.
Key stat: Santa Margarita held JSerra to 2.7 yards a carry.
They said it: “He’s a man. He’s a dude.” That was how Santa Margarita linebacker Tanner Matthews described Alec Stewart.
What it means: It means that Santa Margarita has a much larger opportunity to make the playoffs than does JSerra. Being 0-2 in league is not harsh in most leagues. In the Trinity League, it is. The high quality of opponents, week after week, makes it unlikely that any team other than St. John Bosco or Mater Dei can win three in a row. JSerra has to play St. John Bosco next week, and Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran, in order, the following weeks. JSerra is a good team, but beating all three of those teams is very unlikely. The top three finishers in the six-team Trinity League receive guaranteed berths in the CIF-Southern Section Pac-5 Division playoffs. That division has two berths for at-large teams – teams that don’t finish high enough in their league standings for guaranteed berths. Last year, Trinity League teams Santa Margarita and Servite got the Pac-5 at-large berths. There is a points system used to select at-large teams. No team wants to finish below third place and then have to go through the at-large selection process.