Tuesday, November 8, 2011
O.C.: Five things from the weekend
1. The goals that Jim Hartigan instituted at JSerra for the program to take steps forward kept getting bigger and bigger. Win a game. Win all the nonleague games. Win a Trinity League game. And though the Lions -- outclassed in the league largely because of depth -- had scored a Trinity victory a couple of years ago against Santa Margarita, it paled compared to the victory this past weekend over Orange Lutheran. When JSerra beat Santa Margarita, 14-12, in the 2009 season, it beat a team that was struggling and finished 3-7 overall and failed to win a league game for the first time in its history. When it beat Lutheran by scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter for a 31-14 victory, it beat a team that was clearly acknowledged as one of the best in Orange County and was ranked in the ESPNLA Top 25. Quarterback Jake Hall and receiver Jonavaughn Williams are playmakers of the first order. Going into the final week of the season, JSerra (4-5, 1-3) is still alive for a playoff berth: If JSerra beats Mater Dei (3-6, 1-3) and Orange Lutheran (6-3, 1-3) beats St. John Bosco (6-3, 2-2), a coin flip would determine the third-place playoff entry from the league.
2. If there was a bigger win in Orange County than JSerra's over Orange Lutheran, it would probably have to be Huntington Beach's 58-28 Sunset League victory over Los Alamitos, a game in which the Oilers eliminated Los Al from playoff contention. Michael Chislock passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Huntington Beach (7-2, 3-1) showed that it might be a dangerous opponent in the postseason; comparably, Santa Margarita defeated Los Al, 38-27. Like JSerra's Trinity League upset, it was a second-half barrage that decided it; Los Al had scored the first 14 points, and trailed 24-16 just a minute into the third quarter before Huntington Beach scored six touchdowns (including an interception return by Zach Hadlock and fumble recovery by Ramon Vargas) and a field goal; the only TD allowed by the Oilers defense over the final 23 minutes was a 57-yard run by Cody Paul. It has to be a bitter disappointment for Los Alamitos, which hasn't won a playoff game since reaching the Southern Section finals in 2004. Los Al (5-4, 1-3) has lost four of its last five games and, on the season, is 1-4 against opponents with a winning record. At the earliest, it will be next season before coach John Barnes (293-89) collects his 300th victory.
3. Servite extended its winning streak over Mater Dei to three games, which probably wouldn't be significant if not for the 20-year winless streak Servite had before its current run of domination. With its 35-28 victory at Angel Stadium, Servite (8-1, 4-0) clinched a share of the league title for the seventh time since the arrival of Troy Thomas as its coach. Prior to Thomas arriving from Crespi, Servite had won only three league games in the previous four years; it has now won 18 in a row. Servite, which has won the last two Pac-5 championships, is the No. 1-ranked team in the ESPNLA Top 25.
4. In Costa Mesa's 63-47 victory over Laguna Beach, the teams combined for 1,316 yards (689 by Costa Mesa, 627 by Laguna Beach) and 63 first downs. Mario Smith rushed 29 times for 359 yards and seven touchdowns for Costa Mesa. Laguna Beach quarterback Larry Stewart completed 25 of 43 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns, but two interceptions prevented the Breakers from keeping pace in the shootout. Despite the wild nature of the score, the outcome wasn't that mysterious; Costa Mesa took a 21-0 lead and, after two Laguna Beach touchdowns, scored the next 21 points as well.
5. There are some higher profile linemen in Orange County, but there aren't many who had bigger nights this season than Kyle Kelley. A Woodbridge senior, Kelley (6-3, 215) had six of his team's eight sacks in a 27-14 Pacific Coast League victory over Northwood; he also deflected a pass. The victory kept playoff hopes alive for Woodbridge (4-5, 1-3), which must beat Irvine (4-5, 2-2) next week.