By Trevor Faye - Santa Margarita HS student
Friday night’s game wasn’t so much a game for Santa Margarita as it was a scrimmage.
After Carson kicked off, the Eagles wasted no time moving down the field and scoring their first TD barely four minutes into the game. The scoring drive was the first of many for the Eagles, who set a school record with 610 total yards in a 72-0 rout of Carson.
“The O-line played solid tonight," Santa Margarita center Dane Crane said. "Ryan Wolpin ran like an animal and John (Johnny Stanton) played like John.
"That’s why I think the score was what it was.”
The Eagles massive size advantage on both sides of the football was on display throughout. Under immense pressure from the Santa Margarita O-line, the Carson defense crumbled on almost every play as the Eagles offense dominated. And the intense defensive pressure on Carson’s quarterback Justin Collins had the sophomore signal caller constantly running for his life and having to make desperate throws, many of which were picked off or fell incomplete.
Although the game was a blowout, it wasn’t without its highlights.
Senior wide receiver River Cracraft had a couple highlight-reel touchdowns - the first of which occurred around the five-minute mark in the 1st quarter, where he ran the ball down to the 1-yard line, then dove into the end zone holding onto the ball with just one hand. Just as entertaining was a play made by Cracraft around the 5:20 mark in the 3rd, when he jumped over a defender from Carson and landed in the end zone.
The game also was not without its tensions.
There were multiple false starts against both teams as the Friday night nerves set in, and a scuffle broke out between linemen from each team when one of them was stepped on late in the 2nd. This only made tempers flare on the Carson side of the field, which was already filled with fans and players alike who were searing with frustration from being down for the count so early on.
The closest Carson got to scoring was advancing to the Santa Margarita's 4-yard line on fourth down, late in the 4th. Hoping to break the shutout, Collins' pass fell incomplete, as did their hopes of scoring against the reigning state champions.
With a score like 72-0, it’s hard to see how anyone could describe SM’s performance as anything less than perfect, but not everyone has met Santa Margarita head coach Harry Welch.
“Coach Welch is never satisfied, I don’t think any of us are,” said Crane. “I think that’s what makes us a good team. We’re working hard, but you gotta think you can always do better.”