Eagles 35 - Long Beach Jordan 6

Santa Margarita rolls past LB Jordan

LONG BEACH, CA., August 31, 2012 – Normally a 29-point victory is cause for jubilation and celebration, but the Santa Margarita postgame huddle had all the joyfulness of a root canal.

Such are the circumstances when trying to meet the expectations of being ranked the No. 1 in Orange County and the nation, according to some polls.

In a game full of penalties and dropped passes, the No. 1 Eagles (2-0) still managed to put a 35-6 shellacking on Long Beach Jordan on Friday night at Jordan High.

Eagles coach Harry Welch acknowledged it was not his team’s best effort and put the blunt of the criticism on himself.

“I told them (after the game) that the head coach wasn’t very good (tonight) and they followed my lead,” Welch said.

Welch added that, aside from the way his defense played, there was only one other bright side to Friday’s victory.

“I like that we’re going to get on the bus and get home safely,” Welch said.

The defense did perform brilliantly for the Eagles, the No. 2 team in the ESPN Rise rankings, allowing the host Panthers 177 total yards.

The Panthers backfield was constantly littered with Eagles defenders as quarterback Hudson Romain was sacked three times before having to leave the game in the third quarter due to injury. He managed just 61 passing yards.

The Eagles did not let up on backup quarterback Gregory Filer, sacking him twice and allowing him just 21 yards through the air. Senior defensive lineman Nick Begg led the assault for the Eagles with two sacks.

“Our defense hustled,” Welch said. “Our outside linebackers were really good. I think Tony Bone, (safeties) R.J. Mazolewski and Connor O’Brien were good. I don’t recall them ever having break downs.”

On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Johnny Stanton was 10-of-20 passing for 95 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also sacked three times and threw an interception. He had a little more success on the ground, running for 75 yards on seven carries capped off by a spectacular 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter in which he knifed through the heart of the Panthers defense.

The Eagles receiving core was effective as six different receivers combined for 95 yards and two touchdowns, but they also had five crucial drops, three in the end-zone that would have made the final score a lot more impressive.

Senior River Cracraft led the receivers with three catches for 36 yards and Kyle Sweet hauled in two receptions for 21 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Ryan Wolpin added nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. He added two catches for 10 yards.

Santa Margarita 14 7 7 7 35
Long Beach Jordan 0 6 0 0 6

SM – McNiff 15 pass from Stanton (Ury kick)
SM – Sweet 12 pass from Stanton (Ury kick)
LBJ – Finau 5 run (Romain run failed)
SM – Wolpin 1 run (Ury kick)
SM – Stanton 74 run (Ury kick)
SM – Stanton 74 run (Ury kick)

Rushing: SM - Stanton 7-75, Wolpin 9-52; LBJ - Johnson 2-2, Finau 11-53, Filer 6-10, Romain 7-5, McGuire 14-26
Passing: SM - Stanton 10-20-1-95; LBJ - Filer 4-80-21, Romain 12-15-1-61
Receiving: SM - Cracraft 3-36, Wolpin 2-10, Sweet 2-21, McNiff 1-15; LBJ - Johnson 6-46, Finau 4-16, Romain 1-(-2)


By Rafael Guerrero
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The Orange County Register