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Monday, October 18, 2010
Orange County: Five things from the weekend

By Martin Henderson

1. With Harry Welch as its new coach, Santa Margarita is trouble. Every week it seems the Eagles are getting better and better, and their 27-15 victory over Orange Lutheran is a watermark moment in the Trinity League; you can bank on the breaking up of the triumvirate of Servite, Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran that has dominated the league the past four seasons. The first step was Santa Margarita's victory over OLu. It would not surprise me one bit if the Eagles -- behind the play of quarterback Adam Young and running back Cory Thomson --  win the league title.

2. Watching JSerra play (they were tough just not very deep), and listening to Servite coach Troy Thomas talk about the team he saw on film and beat, 41-7 (“They're good”), I'm left to marvel at where JSerra might be if receiver Bryan Keller and linebacker/quarterback Tre Madden had not transferred to Mission Viejo, and if Tyler Shirozono had not transferred to Dana Hills. Imagine how much better JSerra would be, and what impact that might have had on Mission Viejo and the South Coast League (not to mention the Trinity League)? I asked one of the JSerra boosters why Madden transferred after his freshman season and was told, “He didn't think the program would be where he wanted it to be in four years.” If players had stuck around, it might have been.

3. Most impressive victory of the weekend didn't belong to one of the powers that gets discussed here every week, it belonged to Yorba Linda, which scored a 12-6 win over Placentia Valencia for its first ever league victory. This is Yorba Linda's first varsity team, and for the senior-less Mustangs to post a win over such an established program and revered coach as Mike Marrujo says a lot about the state of the program under coach Jeff Bailey. Alex Bernstein rushed nine times for 51 yards and passed for 92 yards – including a 25-yard touchdown pass – and intercepted two passes (one returned 65 yards for a touchdown). Yorba Linda is 3-4, 1-2 in the seven-team Empire League, but that victory might have meant a playoff berth.

4. The most impressive performance of the weekend may have belonged to Newport Harbor. Without its starting RB and QB, the Sailors got solid performances from Drew Diller – who will have to fill in for the rest of the season in place of Buzzy Yokoyama – and Cole Blower – who subbed in for the concussed Austin Rios – and scored a 28-6 victory over Huntington Beach. The Beach, by the way, had scored at least 31 points in its previous three games and had a four-game winning streak. Facing adversity, Newport really stepped up impressively to get the job done.

5. It's notable what teams such as Buena Park have done this season. The Coyotes were 8-51 from 2004-2009, including a 4-6 campaign in 2005. This year's unbeaten team (6-0) has almost matched that win total in a single season. This week Buena Park faces Freeway League favorite La Habra (3-3), and it would be a major upset if the Coyotes remained undefeated. Yet almost as impressive has been that Ocean View has won its fifth in a row. The Seahawks are 5-1 after a 30-0 victory over Orange in which Brian Hernandez kicked three field goals; they had won only seven games the previous two seasons. Other teams on a roll include Cypress (6-0) and Sonora (6-0), which is undefeated this late in the season for the first time since 1975.