Orange County: Five things from the weekend

November, 22, 2010
11/22/10
11:15
AM PT
1. He seems to be under the radar that typically points to Mission Viejo's Alex Bridgford and La Habra's Cody Clements as the county's best quarterbacks this season, but Santa Margarita's unheralded Adam Young may be the most complete. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 83 yards and a score in a 49-3 victory over Edison -- Edison, one of the county's 10 best teams. Young has been nothing short of brilliant. He has passed for a slightly higher percentage (66 percent) than Carson Palmer (63 percent) in the former Heisman winner's senior season of 1997, and he is a better runner. He has passed for 1,688 yards with 17 TDs and two interceptions, and rushed for 579 yards (averaging 5.3 per carry). Young began his high school career at Tesoro, but went to Santa Margarita –- and played on the junior varsity his junior season. This week's performance against Mission Viejo could be his defining moment if the Eagles continue to win.

2. The 75-20 blowout by Tustin over Buena Park is a product of the playoff system. It matched the last qualifier against the No. 1 seed, and Tustin isn't built for holding back. The Tillers are a running team -- so any time they pass it could be perceived as running up the score -- and their small roster prevents coach Myron Miller from getting too far down on a depth chart. It's a testament to Buena Park and first-year coach Anthony White that he reportedly turned down two offers to go to a running clock in the second half. The program's adversity this season has been well-documented, and White seems to have changed the culture at a losing program, and with this rare opportunity to participate in the playoffs, there's nothing wrong with soaking in every minute -- even if it's by a lopsided score. And let it be known that the Coyotes led Tustin in the first quarter, 13-7.

3. The most surprising score of the weekend wasn't one of the blowouts or minor upsets, but was Lakewood's 24-7 victory over San Clemente. It's no surprise that Lakewood won, but with the number of points that San Clemente has scored this season, and the way it has come from behind with an offense led by quarterback Travis Wilson and running backs Mike Elespuru and Nick Pasquale, it is surprising that the Tritons didn't mount a healthier challenge. They didn't score until 1:49 remained in the third quarter when they trailed by 17 points. That says something about Lakewood's defense against a team that had a slugger's chance of reaching the finals by virtue of its offense and its ability to win a shootout.

4. For largely being considered an afterthought and a contributor to the injustice of Cypress' slot in the Southwest Division bracket, fourth-seeded Villa Park certainly gave a good account of itself in the first round of the playoffs. Villa Park had been ranked ninth in the last Southern Section ranking, but when fourth-ranked Cypress won and teams ranked 5-8 lost, Villa Park was given the No. 4 seeding by virtue of a placement rule: the first and second-place teams from the same league can't be on the same half of the bracket (Empire League champion Tustin was seeded No. 1 and had that half of the bracket). That meant Cypress dropped into the No. 6 slot on the other half of the bracket and had the unenviable task of facing third-seeded La Habra in the second round. Cypress beat San Juan Hills, 63-37, as Chris Austin rushed for four touchdowns and Vincent Rivera returned two kickoffs for scores. But given the circumstances, even more impressive was Villa Park's 33-14 victory over Pacifica, the fourth-place team from the Empire. Pacifica had been ranked fifth a week earlier, but David Tafuna rushed for 161 yards and scored four touchdowns for Villa Park. By comparison, Cypress beat Pacifica in the league finale, 10-9. Maybe Villa Park wanted to make a statement. Or maybe they deserved the No. 4 seeding. Whatever, that was an impressive performance.

5. At the beginning of the season, everyone was looking at the Trinity League as though it must be in a down cycle after years of being the Southern Section's marquee league. Mater Dei had lost two in a row, Santa Margarita had lost to Tesoro, Orange Lutheran wasn't scoring many points. Yet the Trinity League is 3-0 after the first round of playoffs, followed by the South Coast (2-1), Serra (2-1), Moore (1-3) and Sunset (0-3) leagues.

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