BIG GAME AGAINST SERVITE PROPELS EAGLES TO PLAYOFFS
Mission Viejo, CA. - November 11, 2016 - In an almost “must win” game for both teams, the Eagles showed their true colors by playing arguably their best game of the year when it mattered the most. Fresh off their 23-7 statement win over Orange Lutheran, the Eagles found themselves in the driver’s seat to secure a third place finish in the Trinity League barring a Mater Dei or St. John Bosco loss, which would guarantee them a playoff spot and a favorable seed. With all of the chips falling as they did, every Trinity League team made it to the playoffs, with the Eagles hitting the road in the first round to take on Serra of Gardena tonight at 7:30pm.
The Eagles put up some astonishing numbers against the Friars last week, including 344 rushing yards, 264 of which went to junior Chad Magyar on 32 carries. Magyar, the clear workhorse for the Eagle offense, scored twice and averaged 8.3 yards per carry with his longest run going for 50 yards. Magyar’s running partner on the night was junior Malone Mataele, who carried the ball 15 times for 71 yards and two touchdowns. What didn’t show up in the box score were some other quality Mataele carries that went for big yards but were negated by penalties. When your offense is able to garner almost 350 rushing yards, the passing game becomes secondary, no pun intended. With that said, Richard Wagner still completed 11 of 19 passes (58%) for 183 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Wagner’s longest completion of the night was sophomore Munir McClain’s only catch, but it went for 61 yards and a touchdown that left several Friar defenders in his wake. Wagner distributed his passes fairly, with Grant Calcaterra bringing in four passes for 76 yards and a score, and five others going to Magyar who had 35 receiving yards to add to his total (299).
Defensively, the Eagles controlled the Servite running game, limiting the Friars to just 68 yards on 22 carries. Santa Margarita held Servite to just seven points in the first quarter before allowing 17 second quarter points. That would be the end of the scoring for the Friars as the Eagle defense would pitch a second half shut out of Orange Counties number six ranked team. Senior safety Brennan Gibbons had one of his biggest nights after returning from injury, including four solo tackles and 3 assisted tackles. Senior linebacker Jadon DiGravio had one of his finest performances of the season with six tackles and a crucial interception in Servite territory which would turn into points for the Eagles.
With the regular season in the books, the up-and-down season found the Eagles with a 6-4 overall record and finishing third place in one of the countries toughest leagues with a 2-3 record. Playing their best football as of late, Santa Margarita hits the road tonight to take on Serra of Gardena to open up the Division 1 playoffs. Serra, fittingly won the Mission league with familiar foes in Alemany, Loyola, finished 7-3 overall and 6-0 in league. Serra’s three losses came in the first three games of the season to schools from Arizona, New Jersey, and Narbonne of Harbor City, CA. Since their last loss on September 3rd, they have won their last seven straight. Serra averages 214 rushing yards and 220 passing yards per game with the Eagles averaging 176 rushing and 203 passing. Santa Margarita averages 32 points per game with Serra averaging 26. Tonight’s game was selected as the Fox Sports West Game of the Week. Check with your local cable provider for channel listings. The winner of tonight’s game will take on the winner of the Upland/St. John Bosco game on November 18th.
Source: Sean Zeitler, Sports Information Director