2017 Eagle Football Season Looms in the Shadows
After a CIF 2nd Round Appearance last season, Eagles look to build off of a quality 2016 season
Fresh off their CIF 2nd Round Appearance last season, Coach Fisher and his staff, now in their second year, look to take the Eagles to the next level. Despite losing several pieces of last year’s puzzles to graduation, and quarterbacks coach Jeff Grady to Edison High School where he took over for longtime Charger Head Coach Dave White, the Eagles return a core nucleus of impact players that will lead the Eagles into the 2017 season.
The 2016 Eagles (7-5, 2-3) have had a solid spring and summer where they have shown a high level of comfortability under Coach Fisher and his staff’s system. The Eagles will have holes to fill with the graduation of center Brett Neilon (’16, USC), wide receiver/punter Grant Calcaterra (’16, Oklahoma), and quarterback Richard Wagner (’16, Cornell). Despite losing those key players to graduation, the Eagles will rely powerful running of All-Trinity League tailback Chad Magyar, who rushed for a 1,074 yard last season, including a season high 264 yards against Servite last season, and tallied 12 total touchdowns. Recent Utah-commit Malone Mateale, one of the better all-around football athletes in California, set school records for most kickoff returns in a season (25), kickoff return yards in a season (711), most kickoff return yards in a game (270, Mission Viejo), most punt return yards in a game (107, King), most punt return touchdowns in a game (2, King), among several other tied special team school records. In addition to his special team’s prowess, Mataele is a game changer on both sides of the ball where he plays wide receiver, running back, as well as cornerback on the defensive side of the ball.
Opposing defenses will have a tough time defending the Santa Margarita tight end duo of Fresno State-commit Johnny McCartan (6’5”, 225) and a healthy Jake Peters (6’5”, 240). McCartan is known for his reliable hands but is also a well-improved blocker. Peters has had a slew of injuries throughout his high school career but when healthy, is a dangerous threat as a receiver and as a blocker.
A question mark for the Eagle offense rests at the quarterback position, where there are a handful of talented options in Josiah Norwood, Hunter Cifuentes, and Johnny Parkinson. Each quarterback offers different attributes and it will be interesting to see who is behind center in week one against Downey High School.
The Eagles will hit the ground running to start the 2017 season, where they will travel the first two weeks to Downey High School in Week 0 and Loyola High School in Week 1, logging a cool 100+ mile road trip between the two of them. When the Eagle enter Trinity league play in October, they will open up at home* against Mater Dei before three consecutive away league games against Servite (October 13), St. John Bosco (October 20), and JSerra (October 27) before closing out the regular season against Orange Lutheran at home*.
*Home is Where the Heart is:
With Saddleback College’s stadium undergoing a massive renovation, the Santa Margarita’s athletic administration worked diligently to secure local venues but as a result, the Eagles will have a couple Thursday games. The first home game of the season for the Eagles will be against Bishop Alemany on Thursday, September 7th at Laguna Hills High School. The following Thursday, the Eagles will host Mayfair at Laguna Hills High School on September 14th for the Homecoming game. The following week will be the final game of the non-league schedule where the Eagles will host Mission Viejo on September 22nd at Trabuco Hills High School.
Other home away from home games:
Friday October 6: vs. Mater Dei at Laguna Hills High School
Friday November 3: Orange Lutheran at Trabuco Hills High School