Varsity Times Insider High school sports across the Southland

Game lives up to hype when Santa Margarita edges JSerra, 36-35

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider

You can always count on a little madness taking place each week in the Trinity League, and Friday night’s game between Santa Margarita and San Juan Capistrano JSerra to settle third place behind Santa Ana Mater Dei and Bellflower St. John Bosco produced a game-of-the-year type performance.

First there was backup running back Eli Jefferson of JSerra torching Santa Margarita for 231 yards rushing in 19 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Then there was Chad Magyar of Santa Margarita bursting through the middle for 223 yards, including touchdown runs of 80 and 33 yards in the second half.

Back and forth the game went. JSerra appeared to take the lead for good with 5:30 left on a Jefferson four-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion catch by Tarik Luckett for a seven-point lead.

All that did was lead to drama in the end. Santa Margarita drove downfield and scored on a three-yard touchdown run by Jake Thomas, his first carry of the game, with 30 seconds left. And quarterback Josiah Norwood completed the game-winning two-point conversion pass to Jake Peters for the 36-35 victory.

Quentin Buchman iced the win with an interception with 13 seconds left.

Santa Margarita is 6-3 and 2-2. JSerra dropped to 7-2 and 2-2.

What a night it was. JSerra offensive lineman Nelson Lopez was crowned homecoming king at halftime after a spectacular light show.

Santa Margarita fell behind 27-14 in the third quarter after a 38-yard touchdown run by Jefferson. But the Eagles got a boost by a missed JSerra field goal and continued penalties by the Lions. JSerra had 15 penalties for 170 yards.

Magyar’s 33-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter put the Eagles on top, 28-27. But JSerra is hard to beat with senior Matt Robinson at quarterback. Like his brother, Nick, now the quarterback at Pennsylvania, Robinson knows how to complete passes in the clutch. He finished 15 of 26 for 195 yards and one touchdown.

The first two possessions for each team ended in touchdowns. Santa Margarita started with a 16-play drive.

JSerra countered with a 14-play drive. Then Malone Mataele scored his second touchdown, catching a 54-yard pass from Norwood. JSerra tied it up at 14-14 on a 73-yard touchdown run by Jefferson. The Lions finally broke the deadlock to enter halftime with a 21-14 advantage on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Tyler Shimomura with 26 seconds left.

These two teams matched tackle for tackle and relied on their quarterbacks to try to improvise and make decisive plays. JSerra successfully contained Norwood for most of the second quarter, thanks to a strong pass rush led by Abdul-Malik McClain.

Robinson’s speed, experience and instincts kept giving the Lions second chances. He completed a 28-yard pass to Luckett on third-and-long to set up his one-yard TD plunge.

Twitter: @latsondheimer

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