Martin Luther King, CA. - September 2, 2016 - In a highly anticipated season opener that featured two of the top five ranked teams in Orange County, it was Martin Luther King claiming bragging rights as the Diablos defeated the Eagles, 48-21. Martin Luther King struck fast and early, putting up 27 first quarter points courtesy of quarterback Matthew McDonald striking for 181 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. McDonald would go on to finish his night with 379 passing yards and 42 rushing yards as the Eagles struggled to contain him on the ground and in the air.

In his debut as an Eagle, junior Malone Mataele stole the show, returning two kickoffs of 99 and 94 yards for touchdowns. In all, Mataele finished his special team’s night with five kickoff returns for 270 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 53.8 yards a return. Mataele’s breakout night was good enough to etch his name into the Santa Margarita record books. Malone’s 270 total kickoff return yards in a game was the most in school history, the previous record was set back in 2008 when Logan Sweet had 201 yards against Mater Dei. Interestingly enough, Mataele is now tied with four other Eagles for the most kickoff returns in a season with his two against Martin Luther King alone. He now ties Johnny Walker (2000), Ryan Maxwell (2005), AJ Cruz (2008), and Cory Thomson (2009). His third and final record of the evening tied him for the longest kickoff return of 99 yards with two former Eagles, Spencer Tyson against Poway High School in 2009, and Thomson against Tesoro in 2010.

Offensively, the Eagles managed 202 yards with 38 on the ground and 164 in the air. Starting at quarterback for the Eagles was senior Richard Wagner, who finished his evening 10/17 for 81 yards, 30 of which came after connecting with junior Mark Eaton. Eaton would finish the night as the leading receiver for the Eagles with two catches for 72 yards and a long of 42 from sophomore Brenden Costello who came in to replace Wagner in the second half. Joining Eaton was Oklahoma-bound senior wideout Grant Calcaterra, who hauled in seven catches for 33 yards. Costello, making his varsity debut, threw for 83 yards and completed 58% of his passes after connecting on seven of 12. Costello was also the leading rusher for the Eagles, carrying the ball eight times for 26 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, it was the line backing trio of senior Jaden Digravio and juniors Caden Fitch and Sean Toohey leading all tacklers for the Eagles. Toohey led the way with 11 tackles, with DiGravio and Fitch each having 10 of their own. Junior Joe Canty, stepping in for an injured Matteo Spinosi who left the game after the first play, brought down his first varsity interception and returned it for 17 yards.

Source: Sean Zeitler, Sports Information Director