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Santa Margarita comes through with crucial win over Orange Lutheran

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – Santa Margarita snapped a three-game losing streak and shook up the Trinity League playoff race Friday night with a 23-7 victory over Orange Lutheran at Saddleback College.

Richard Wagner passed for 170 yards and Chad Magyar rushed for 95 as the Eagles (5-4, 1-3) got their first league win and clinched at least a .500 overall record to stay in the running for an at-large berth in Division 1.

Orange Lutheran (5-4, 2-2) could have clinched the league’s third-place berth with a win but now must beat St. John Bosco next week to do that.

Santa Margarita finishes with Servite, but Eagles coach Rich Fisher didn’t want to talk about the complex playoff picture.

“I don’t worry about what we can’t control,” he said. “We’re going to be on to Servite tomorrow and whatever happens at the end of the year happens.”

The Eagles kept their hopes alive Friday with a balanced, ball-control offense and smothering defense.

“For the most part we were able to keep the ball on the ground and keep the clock rolling,” said Fisher. “I thought the defense was really the name of the game. (Orange Lutheran) never really got much going.”

The Lancers played most of the game without Dominick Austin, the Orange County Offensive Player of the Week last week after running for 233 yards in a 49-42 win over Servite. Austin didn’t start Friday and ran for just 21 yards on five plays.

“He was sick all week, didn’t go to school a couple of days, and we didn’t feel like he was really healthy,” said Lancers coach Chuck Petersen.

The Lancers also lost quarterback Ryan Hilinski to an injury with nine minutes left in the game, but Petersen made no excuses.

“I’ll give them the credit,” he said. “I shared with my guys early in the week that the most desperate team would win the football game, and I’ll take that on me. They whipped us up front on both sides of the ball. They appeared to be the team that wanted to play hard and I’ll take that on me.”

Santa Margarita took a 13-0 halftime lead, scoring on its first possession on Wagner’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Magyar just 3:06 into the game.

Malone Mataele made it 13-0 on a 4-yard run with 8:25 left in the half. Dylan Brady hit a 44-yard field goal late in the third quarter to make it 16-0.

Mataele's second touchdown, on a 3-yard run, upped the lead to 23-0 with 4:33 left in the game.

Magyar was a key to the Eagles' offense all night, with six catches for 51 yards to go with his 95 rushing yards. He ran the ball 17 times, nine in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.

Orange Lutheran averted the shutout as backup quarterback Cole Capen drove the Lancers 80 yards in 14 plays, capping it with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Stan Berryhill. Capen was 6-of-9 passing for 48 yards, after Hilinski went 6-of-14 for 44 yards. Berryhill caught six passes for 63 yards. Michael Arredondo rushed 11 times for 57 yards.


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