Los Angeles Preps: Costa Mesa

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.

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