EAGLE RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
Mission Viejo, CA. - November 4, 2016 - After dropping their first three league games and just two remaining in the 2016 regular season, the Eagles found themselves in an alarming position, winless in league. Under CIF rules, a team needs to have a .500 record or better to be considered eligible for the playoffs. Going into last week’s matchup, the Eagles were 4-4 overall, which would mean they would have to win at least one of their last two games to secure a .500 season. Orange Lutheran had previously defeated JSerra and Servite as they sat comfortably at 2-1 in league and 5-3 overall. With their backs against the wall, the Eagles stepped up as they would move their overall record to 5-4 in defeating the Lancers 23-7. After last week’s win, Santa Margarita now finds themselves in control of a third place position if they are to defeat Servite tonight in the regular season finale.
The story of the game last week was the Eagle defense, as they would hold the high-octane Lancer offense to just seven points on 92 passing yards and 130 rushing yards. Last week, the Lancers rushed for 258 yards and passed for 149 yards in their 49-42 victory over Servite. The star for the Lancers was running back Dominik Austin, who rushed for 233 yards on 32 carries. Last week, the Eagles held Austin to just 30 yards on seven carries. More impressive than containing the Lancer running game was the work done by the Eagle secondary, holding Orange Lutheran to just 92 receiving yards. Going into the game, the Lancers were averaging more than 171 receiving yards and the Eagles were able to contain their number one target in Stan Berryhill to a modest 62 receiving yards and their lone touchdown that came with just a minute left in the game.
Offensively, the Eagles were just about as balanced as you could be, rushing the ball for 168 yards and passing for 170. Senior quarterback Richard Wagner was nearly perfect, completing 15 of 18 passes (83%) for 170 yards and a touchdown. The recipient of the lone passing touchdown was none other than Chad Magyar, who caught five passes for 49 yards and would rush the ball 18 times for 96 yards. Featuring the wildcat, junior Malone Mataele racked up two rushing touchdowns on four carries for 19 yards. Mataele now leads the Eagles in All-Purpose yards with 914, just ahead of Magyar’s 909.
The regular season comes to a close tonight at Saddleback College when the Eagle host Servite with kickoff set for 7:00pm. Servite currently sits at 4-5 overall and 1-3 in league play with their only win coming at the hands of JSerra. The Eagles are 5-4 overall and 1-3 in league play and if they are to win tonight, they take sole possession of third place and are guaranteed a spot in the Division 1 playoffs. If they lose to Servite, their odds of making it into the playoffs are still strong, but their seeding in the playoffs would take a hard hit. Servite averages 257 receiving yard and 111 rushing yards per game, the Eagles are averaging 206 receiving yards and 157 rushing yards.
Other Eagle Leaders:
Passing: Richard Wagner, 127/194 (66%), 1,683 yards, 10 touchdowns, 3 interceptions
Rushing: Chad Magyar, 97 carries, 628 yards, 6 touchdowns
Receiving: Grant Calcaterra, 49 receptions, 822 yards, 7 touchdowns
Total Tackles: Caden Fitch, 85 tackles
Sacks: Malik McClain, 5.5 sacks
Interceptions: 5 tied (1, D. Fernandez, J. Canty, B. Gibbons, R. Caragao, J. Tollner)
Source: Sean Zeitler, Sports Information Director