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Newman Sets Record as Santa Margarita Wins

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Billy Newman rushed for a school-record 353 yards and scored three touchdowns to pace Santa Margarita to a 38-24 victory Friday over host Trabuco Hills in the season opener for both teams.

Newman, a 5-10, 165-pound senior, shattered the Eagles’ record of 279 yards set in 1991 by Josh Ireland. He carried 33 times and scored on runs of three, two and 10 yards. Seven of his carries went for at least 20 yards.

“We came in here tonight looking to run the ball. We feel we have a good back in Billy Newman,” Eagle Coach Jim Hartigan said. “Billy had a pretty good night for his first night out. Our offense overall did a great job against a very good team.”

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Saddled with an inexperienced defensive line and secondary, Mustang Coach Bill Crow said his team could not keep pace with an Eagle offense that finished with 484 total yards.

“We like to make guys look good, I guess,” Crow said. “That Newman is one heck of a back.”

Santa Margarita looked as if it would rout its crosstown rivals after building a 35-9 lead late in the third quarter. But the Mustangs scored 15 points in less than three minutes to keep the game interesting for the estimated crowd of 3,500.

The Mustangs drove 65 yards in five plays, aided by a 15-yard penalty on a late hit, and scored on a 10-yard run by Chris Lewis. After a fumble by Newman, caused when Billy Benda swiped the ball after a 25-yard run, Lewis sprinted 72 yards on the next play for a touchdown. Billy Ortiz’s two-point conversion cut the deficit to 35-24 with 10:52 left in the game.

But Santa Margarita responded with a long drive, capped by a 27-yard field goal by Nick Sparks with 2:40 remaining for a 14-point lead.

Lewis, a 5-10 junior, also scored three touchdowns and set a school rushing record with 246 yards in 25 carries. The previous record of 220 yards was set by Jeff Clayton in 1991.

Santa Margarita scored on its first offensive play of the game as quarterback Carson Palmer (4 of 6, 130 yards) took a pitch back from Newman and threw 75 yards to John Minardi.

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