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Westlake contains Costello, catches Santa Margarita by surprise
WESTLAKE VILLAGE – The one redeeming quality of Santa Margarita’s first-half performance was the play of its defense, which shut out a quality Westlake offense, limiting the Warriors to 35 yards on 23 snaps.
It was unlikely the Eagles would mirror such success in the third and fourth quarters, but no one could’ve imagined a complete role reversal over the final 24 minutes.
After looking lethargic and incapable of moving the chains in the first half, Westlake scored 21 consecutive points in the third quarter and put constant pressure on quarterback KJ Costello in a 21-14 victory over Santa Margarita Friday night in a nonleague game at Westlake High.
The Warriors (3-1) went 0-for-7 on third downs in the first and second quarters, and saw six of their first seven drive results in three-and-outs. Senior wide receiver Theo Howard caught four passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns after the intermission, and running back Chase Jasmin ran for 133 second-half yards after being bottled for 18 yards on 10 carries in the first half.
“I think they deserved to win the game,” Eagles coach Rick Curtis said. “I think they played harder than we did. That third quarter was really the difference. They put 21 straight points up on us, and we couldn’t stop the bleeding offensively to get them back on their heals, so it was frustrating from that standpoint.
“The dam kind of broke, and we knew they were going to score some points. We thought if they only scored 21 we’d probably win the game. Offensively, we had a tough night.”
Costello completed 20-of-41 passes for 256 yards. He tossed his first two interceptions of the season, and his lone touchdown pass came with just 54 second left in the game when Santa Margarita (3-1) was 14 points down.
The vertical passing attack was almost non-existent as the Warriors brought pressure all night in their 3-4 base defense, sacking Costello six times, with five coming in the second half.
“They came after us and stunted on almost every down,” Curtis explained. “We had trouble picking up the stunts early. We picked them up later, but we dropped some balls and things just kind of unraveled in the third quarter.”
Costello used his athleticism in the second quarter to give the Eagles the initial lead, scrambling 24 yards for a TD that put Santa Margarita up, 7-0, at halftime.
The Warriors scored on all three of their third quarter drives, as Howard and Jasmin went 38, 33 and 58 yards.
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