Santa Margarita shut out Valencia, 38-0. If that wasn’t shocking enough, the Eagles did it without their 1,800-yard running back.
It was all Eagles Friday night in the second round of the Southern Section Division V playoffs before a crowd of 3,000 at Saddleback College.
Quarterback Carson Palmer completed 14 of 21 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The defense held Valencia (8-4) to 14 plays in the first half and 145 yards total offense. And special teams turned a blocked field-goal attempt into a 70-yard touchdown as the second-seeded Eagles (11-1) advanced to their second semifinal appearance, where they will meet Tustin.
Valencia Coach Mike Marrujo came away impressed after the first meeting between the two schools.
“We couldn’t block and they beat us soundly. They are a good team,” said Marrujo, who couldn’t remember a more lopsided playoff loss in his 16 seasons, 15 in the playoffs. “We were out there on defense an awful lot.”
The Tigers came into the game holding opponents to fewer than 10 points a game. But even without Billy Newman, who was held out because of tightness in his hamstring, the Eagles had plenty in reserve.
They led, 17-0, at halftime on Nick Sparks’ 37-yard field goal, Billy O’Connor’s 34-yard touchdown reception and Brett Crowder’s three-yard scoring pass. During one stretch, Palmer completed 12 consecutive passes before leaving the game with a bruised hip.
The Eagles iced the game late in the third quarter when Chris Long scored on Greg Orlando’s blocked field-goal attempt.