RAHSHAUN HAYLOCK @Rhaylock (CBS) — Saturday night, Johnny Stanton proved once again why he’s been one of the most dominant forces in the Southern California this season.
When Santa Margarita needed to churn yards, he churned 148 of them on 25 carries and a touchdown to lift Santa Margarita to a 27-13 win over San Clemente at Angel Stadium for the Eagles’ first CIF title since 1997.
A staple drive for Stanton and company lasted nine minutes and 56 seconds over the third and fourth quarters. It was an 18-play, 90 yard drive that was sealed by a Ryan Wolpin three yard touchdown run.
“We don’t really have a lot of those but it’s great when we do, especially when we’re up,” said Stanton of the drive. “I think that really put the nail in the coffin.”
Stanton, who also completed nine of 14 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown was essentially the Eagles best defense. Santa Margarita (12-2) held the ball for nearly 20 minutes of the second half to keep the powerful San Clemente (12-2) offense off of the field. The Tritons scored on their first three possessions of the game and only failed to do so on a fourth because time ran out on the first half.
In total, Santa Margarita had two drives that were over seven minutes long in the second half, leaving the Tritons with just three possessions in the games final 24 minutes. All they could do was watch.
“When you have a couple of possessions in a half, you have to make them count,” said San Clemente head coach Jon Hamro, who’s team was out possessed 28:50 to 19:10 in the game. “They methodically went down the field time and again.”
The Tritons are now 0-2 all-time in CIF sectional finals. The last loss came in 1979, in which Hamro was a tight end on the team. Now as the interim head coach, he led San Clemente to a place few thought they could go after their head coach was dismissed from the program just weeks before the season began.
Harry Welch, meanwhile, now has a CIF-SS Championship ring for just about every finger. Santa Margarita’s win on Saturday gives him nine sectional championships.
He’s also won two state bowls and hopes to be able to add to that total next week. Santa Margarita’s fate is in the hands of the Selection Committee.
Does he think his team deserves a bid?
“No one played a harder schedule the last 4,5,6,7 weeks than we did. No one,” said Welch. “We did it the hard way. So do I think so? Yes. But I trust that the CIF will do the right thing and we’ll accept whatever they do.”