By Martin Henderson
Santa Margarita Catholic opened the 2013 football season at Bishop Amat but was beaten by another Pac-5 power in the first game of Coach Harry Welch's final season. The Eagles went into the game ranked sixth in the Southern Section's Pac-5 preseason poll and Bishop Amat was No. 8.
Score: Bishop Amat 38, Santa Margarita Catholic 28
Key Stats: Sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello passed for 243 yards and touchdowns of 86 and 73 yards to Kyle Sweet, but had five passes intercepted; one interception was returned for a 39-yard score by Adrian Ortega with 1:08 left in the third quarter that gave Amat a 24-21 lead. Jeremy McNichols, a transfer from Lakewood, rushed for 163 yards and scored from the 50 and the 1-yard lines.
Pivotal Moment: Clinging to a 28-24 lead, the Eagles defense gave up a 20-yard pass on fourth-and-11 that led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Adrian Ortega with 4:22 left in the game.
Quotable: "We got a bunch of new kids playing new positions. Give them some time. They'll get better," Welch told the Orange County Register.
Records: Bishop Amat (1-0), Santa Margarita (0-1)
Notes: As tough as the pivotal fourth down play was on the Eagles, a backward pass—otherwise known as a lateral—was recovered by Bishop Amat in the final minutes and led to the Lancers’ final touchdown with 1:47 to go. … Without the turnovers, the Eagles probably win, and in that sense, they have reason to be optimistic. … Costello's first two passes were for touchdowns, making him two-for-two for 159 yards. ... Coach Harry Welch said Bishop Amat called the Eagles for a game, and indicated that teams don’t make that call unless they’re pretty good. Bishop Amat is pretty good. ... Since Johnny Stanton's season-ending injury in 2012—at the time, SMCHS was No. 1 in the nation—the Eagles have gone 4-4.