In Coach Harry Welch’s season of retirement, things haven’t gone exactly as he hoped. But he said Santa Margarita Catholic’s upset of Mater Dei on Friday was one of the best wins of his career—which includes 255 other victories.
The Eagles knocked off one of the Southern Section’s power players with a strong defensive effort and a balanced effort from their backup quarterback.
Score: Santa Margarita Catholic 16, Mater Dei 7
Key Stats: Santa Margarita’s defense recorded three interceptions, two by Jonathan La Bounty, and didn’t allow a Mater Dei runner to gain more than 17 yards.
Quotable: “We have so many inexperienced football players and several times they’ve played inexperienced and played scared … afraid to make mistakes,” SMCHS coach Harry Welch told the Orange County Register. “Tonight they played with intensity and confidence. I’m very proud of them. That’s one of the great victories of my career.”
Records: Santa Margarita (4-4 overall, 1-2 in Trinity League), Mater Dei (7-1, 2-1)
Notes: Mater Dei entered the game ranked No. 2 in Orange County, No. 3 in the Pac-5 Division and No. 10 nationally in the computerized Maxpreps Freeman Ratings. … Alex Ury, whose longest field goal this season has been 32 yards, kicked three field goals for Santa Margarita, of 34, 42 and 26 yards. The latter gave the Eagles a 9-7 lead with 10:58 remaining. … Kyle Sweet, in his first start this season at quarterback, passed for 88 yards and rushed for 87, including a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 17 with 2:36 left in the game. …
A loss might have prevented Santa Margarita from making the Pac-5 playoffs, but a victory over Mater Dei may have ensured its inclusion provided it wins next week against Orange Lutheran and the following week against JSerra. The win over Mater Dei will look good to the playoff selection committee. … Although you might think this series is one-sided, it’s not: Mater Dei leads the all-time series, 9-6. … Servite and Mater Dei are tied for second place in league with 2-1 records, but both still have games against St. John Bosco, the No. 1 team in the Pac-5 Division. Santa Margarita has already played Bosco.