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MATT MASIN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Santa Margarita starts the season ranked No. 4 in the Register's preseason Top 25. The Eagles have many talented players, among them, from left, Malone Mataele, Trey Green, Caden Fitch, Richard Wagner, Brett Neilon (62) and Grant Calcaterra.

OCVarsity Kickoff '16: Santa Margarita preview

STAFF WRITER

OCVarsity’s team preview for 2016:

SANTA MARGARITA EAGLES

Coach: Rich Fisher

Last season: 5-5 overall, 1-4 league

Scouting report: New coach Rich Fisher has extensive college coaching experience, most recently as an assistant at Nebraska. He was a head coach for two years at a high school in Massachusetts. He is not the only new face in the program. At receiver, Munir McClain transferred from Georgia. McClain has an offer from the University of Georgia. Santa Margarita already had one of Orange County’s better returning receivers, Grant Calcaterra, who was all-league first team last season when he had 48 catches for 926 yards (19 yards a reception) and nine touchdowns. Senior center Brett Neilon, one of the county’s top prospects, committed to USC. Fisher was uncertain who will be on Neilon’s flanks. “We’re trying to find that starting five,” Fisher said. Competition for the starting quarterback position could continue right up to the Eagles’ season opener against Mission Viejo. Richard Wagner, a senior who looked good in limited opportunities last year, and sophomore Brendan Costello were the candidates. The defense has some newcomers, too. Defensive end Mace Funa moved in from Spanish Fork of Utah. Funa, a sophomore, has an offer of the University of Utah. Junor cornerback Malone Mataele, who has offers from BYU, Colorado and Utah, transferred from Orange Lutheran.

Bottom line: Santa Margarita might be the third-best team in the Trinity League, which is a huge compliment given the high level of this league. With a new coach, a new system and so many new players it might take a few weeks for this team to get it completely together.

Players to watch: Grant Calcaterra, WR, Sr.; Mace Funa, DL, So.; Malone Mataele, DB, Jr.; Brett Neilon, OL, Sr.

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Contact the writer: sfryer@scng.com


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