If Santa Margarita Catholic planned to earn an automatic playoff berth by finishing in the top half of the Trinity League, it almost certainly had to beat Servite. That didn’t happen. The Eagles sputtered in the first half and couldn’t keep pace in the fourth quarter and fell to the Friars, 30-14, Friday at Cerritos College.
Score: Servite 30, Santa Margarita 14
Key Stats: Servite’s Travis Waller rushed for 187 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for 124 yards and two more touchdowns.
Pivotal Moment: Santa Margarita had pulled to 17-14 with 6:28 left in the game, but 15 seconds later, Waller had run 80 yards for the first of two fourth quarter touchdowns—his other was 21 yards with 2:25 remaining—for a 23-14 lead.
Records: Servite (4-3 overall, 1-1 in Trinity League), Santa Margarita (3-4, 0-2)
Notes: Servite came into the game ranked No. 3 in Orange County while Santa Margarita was ranked No. 5. … K.J. Costello, who shows great promise as a quarterback but who throws as many interceptions as touchdowns, was replaced after a scoreless first half by the Eagles. Kyle Sweet, who played QB last year after Johnny Stanton’s injury, guided SMCHS to two touchdowns. Sweet passed for 105 yards and rushed for 71, including a 10-yard score to pull to 17-7 late in the third quarter. …
Jeremy McNichols rushed for 101 yards and a 25-yard score with 6:28 left in the game to make it 17-14. … This was only the second time Santa Margarita scored fewer than 24 points in a game; the other was last week’s 56-12 loss to St. John Bosco, one of the best teams in the nation. … There’s a chance the Trinity League will get the two at-large playoff berths in the Pac-5 Division, but there’s no guarantee. Unless the Eagles score an upset of Mater Dei next week, the contests to close the season against Orange Lutheran and JSerra will be must-win games, and even that might not be enough. The outcome that may determine the playoff berths go elsewhere: Bishop Amat’s season-opening 38-28 victory over SMCHS. Amat is from the five-team Serra League, which will get two berths.