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Santa Margarita vs. Norco, Mission Viejo vs. Servite provide early D1 playoff peeks

Receiver Tetairoa McMillan of Servite will face Mission Viejo on Thursday.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

High school football fans looking forward to the Southern Section Division 1` playoffs in November will receive a sneak preview Thursday when Santa Margarita plays at Norco and Mission Viejo takes on Servite at Orange Coast College. All four teams are 1-0 and have aspirations of being part of what could be an eight-team Division 1 playoff bracket.

Watching the quarterbacks alone will be interesting. Santa Margarita has junior Jaxon Potter; Norco has senior Kyle Crum; Mission Viejo has junior Kadin Semonza; Servite has senior Noah Fifita. That’s four future college quarterbacks in action.

All are coming off big opening performances. Semonza completed 21 of 30 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns in Mission Viejo’s win over Apple Valley. Fifita completed 18 of 26 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns in Servite’s win over Edison. Crum rushed for 103 yards and passed for 245 yards in Norco’s win over Vista Murrieta. Potter passed for 294 yards and three touchdowns in Santa Margarita’s win over San Juan Hills.

The Los Angeles County Health Department published revised guidelines requiring the weekly COVID testing of athletes, starting Sept. 1.

In this week’s top 25 rankings by The Times, Servite is No. 3, Norco No,. 6, Santa Margarita No. 7 and Mission Viejo No. 10.

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Servite coach Troy Thomas said he’s thrilled to face the Diablos.

“We need it,” he said. “They’re really good. It’s going to be a great challenge. That’s why you play high school football, to play in these games.”


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