Eagles 41 - Norco 22
MISSION VIEJO, CA., September 28, 2001 – The Eagles used a balanced attack and scored early and often in registering season-highs for yards and points in posting an impressive 41-22 win over previously unbeaten Norco (2-1) before a raucous homecoming crowd of over 6,000 at Saddleback College. The win moved Santa Margarita's record to 3-0-1 heading into their showdown with Tustin.
The Eagles scored touchdowns on their first four possessions and in six of their first seven in registering season highs for yards (445), points (41) and first downs (19). Junior RB Chase McWhorter made the most of his first start by rushing for a game-high 116 yards on only 10 carried yards and added two touchdowns including a one-yarder at the 7:41 mark of the first quarter to put the Eagles ahead 7-0. Shortly afterward, Norco put together their best drive of the night on the next possession by marching 65 yards on 10 plays capped by Casey Hansen's 18-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left in the quarter. Scott Hudson's 2-point conversion run gave the Cougars their only lead of the night at 8-7. From there the Eagles dominated outscoring Norco 21-0 in the second quarter and allowing only 34 yards in building a 28-8 halftime lead. On the Eagle's second possession they marched 80 yards on 10 plays highlighted by the passing of Marshall Tharpe (16 of 23 for 212 yards and one Td) and running of Ashton White. Tharpe completed five of seven passes on the drive including 11 and 19-yard completions to Cole Devitis (five receptions for 62 yards) and a key 16-yard completion to Renny Jackson. Tharpe's eight-yard pass to Dustin Slinkard on third down gave the Eagles a first down at the Cougar 16. After a 10 yard run by White, he added a five yarder before bowling in from the one to regain the lead at 14-8. Their next drive covered 77 yards on only seven plays with White gaining 38 yards on four rushes before catching a swing pass and coasting 11 yards into the endzone to up the lead to 21-8. The final drive of the half started at the 1:52 mark and was mostly the work of Bobby Whithorne as the Eagles moved 70 yards using only 1:23 of the clock. Tharpe found the junior receiver for first down gains of 11, 27 and 20 yards which helped set up a one-yard Td run by White at the 0:29 mark. White, who saw limited action in the one-sided affair touching the ball 11 times on 22 plays, managed 58 yards on only nine carries and 23 yards on two receptions, but he made the most of it in that his three Td's were a career-high.
The second half was more of the same as Joe Ramsey recovered a fumble on a botched snap setting up Tharpe's six-yard Td run at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter. After a Cougar Td, it took the Eagles only 1:23 to score again as McWhorter raced 65 yards to paydirt in building the lead to 41-14. A late Norco touchdown closed out the scoring. Defensively the Eagles registered two more sacks and nine tackles for loss while limiting the strong-armed Hansen to only five completions and 64 yards passing. Senior DE Mike Leiter earned Defensive Lineman of the Game honors as he led the way with nine tackles and 1.5 sacks while Thomas Cappelletti (Defensive Skill Player of the Game) and Devitis added six tackles apiece.
SM – McWhorter 1 run (Graban kick)
NOR – Hansen 18 run (Hudson run)
SM – White 1 run (Graban kick)
SM – White 11 pass from Tharpe (Graban kick)
SM – White 1 run (Graban kick)
SM – Tharpe 6 run (Graban kick)
NOR – Garcia 8 run (kick blocked)
SM – McWhorter 65 run (kick failed)
NOR – Legere 5 run (Skaggs pass from Hansen)
Rushing: NOR - Sharif 7-103, Garcia 11-59; SM - McWhorter 10-114, White 9-57
Passing: NOR - Hansen 5-7-63; SM - Tharpe, 16-23-202
Receiving: NOR - Skaggs 1-49, Hudson 2-12; SM - DeVitis 5-62, Whithorne 3-51
By Adrian Peters
Sports Information Director