2011 Season Recap
Against Long Beach Jordan in their season opener, SM posted a 56-0 shutout, tying the most points ever scored by the Eagles in their season opener equaling their 56-0 win over Diamond Ranch in 2010. The defense forced five turnovers - including two interceptions by Connor O’Brien – and held Jordan to minus 15 yards rushing on 26 carries helped by seven sacks including 3 ½ by Chris Frost, and just 53 yards on seven of 14 passing. Offensively, the Eagles generated 56 points, 17 first downs and 392 yards in that game. Ryan Wolpin, Johnny Stanton and Alex Suchesk each rushed for two touchdowns, while Frost and matt Anderson led the defense with 9 and 8 tackles respectively.
The Eagles then followed it up the following week by avenging last year’s 32-21 loss to Tesoro with a dominating 39-7 win over the Titans at Saddleback College to improve to 2-0. Wolpin ran for 113 yards and a score on 14 carries while Stanton was 11-of-16 for 225 yards and two touchdowns to River Cracraft. The offense gained 430 yards and 23 first downs. Anderson led the defense with 14 tackles while Pierson added 11. Frost and fellow DE Sean Donegan each picked up 9 tackles and two sacks.
Wolpin ran for 127 yards on 19 carries and scored a school record tying four touchdowns at Trabuco Hills in a 35-14 win that saw the Eagles improve to 3-0. Reid Andrew led the defense with 2 interceptions including one he returned 32 yards for a score. In Week 4 at Carson the Eagles fell behind 21-14 early in the third quarter before scoring 25 unanswered points to pull away for a 39-21 win. Wolpin rushed for 116 yards and Stanton added 105 and three scores of his own a TD and Cory Mendoza led the receiving crew with three catches for 73 yards including a 41-yard touchdown. Anderson spearheaded the defensive effort with a season-high 15 tackles while Pierson added 10 tackles, a sack and forced fumble. Against Los Al in Week 5 the Eagles fell behind 14-7 early in the first quarter as the Griffin’s used their big play capability to tally two quick scores. However, Wolpin and Stanton led a punishing ground assault that saw the team set records for first downs (29), offensive plays (80) and rushing attempts (64) while setting a season- high with 526 yards gained. Anderson’s nine tackles and a sack each by Frost and Pierson led the defense.
The Eagles entered Trinity League play with a 5-0 mark, but faced a tough challenge at Santa Ana Stadium against the Mater Dei Monarchs. After falling behind 13-0 at the half the Eagles used a 47-yard interception return by O’Brien to pull within six at 13-7. Moments later after Frost recovered a fumble at the Monarch 32 Wolpin dove over the pile to score on a one-yard run to make it 14-13 in favor of the Eagles. However, Mater Dei made several key plays down the stretch including the winning score with 4:13 left to pull out a 21-14 win.
In Week 7 the Eagles rebounded with a 31-10 win over Orange Lutheran as they outscored the Lancers 14-0 in the second half to pull away and improve to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in league play. Stanton ran for 111 yards and Wolpin added 105 of his own while O’Brien caught a career-high five passes and one TD. The following week Santa Margarita defeated the JSerra Lions 42-14 behind 169 yards and four rushing TDs from Wolpin. The win pulled the Eagles to within one game of securing a CIF-SS playoff berth. In Week 9 with Stanton (173 yards) and Wolpin (142) leading the way, the Eagles gained 497 yards and secured a playoff berth with a 28-20 win over St. John Bosco at Saddleback College in Week 9. The Win improved the Eagles to 8-1 on the season.
In Week 10 the Eagles played for their first league title in ten years but lost in dramatic fashion to Servite 43-42 in what some in the media are calling one of the best high school games in Orange County history. In that game Stanton rushed for 124 yards and three TDs (including the tying score with just 1:50 left in the game to force overtime). Johnny also set career highs with 20 completions for 276 yards and connected with Wolpin for an amazing 59-yard highlight reel TD. LB Sammy Gibbs added a career high 20 tackles in the game. The Eagles finished the regular season 8-2 and in second place in the Trinity League for the second consecutive season.
The Eagles entered the 2011 CIF-SS Pac-5 (Division I) playoffs as the #6 seed and hosted the 6-4 Bishop Amat Lancers from the Serra League. Santa Margarita jumped out to a 24-7 halftime lead, but the Lancers scored two third quarter touchdowns to close the gap to 24-21 entering the 4th quarter. From there the ground game took over and the Eagles scored four unanswered touchdowns to win 45-21. In the game the Eagles gained a season high 540 yards including 344 yards on the ground. Sophomore Alex Suchesk came in for an injured Ryan Wolpin (125 yards)
and gained a game-high 133 and two touchdown. Stanton completed 17-of-24 passes for 196 yards. Matt Andersen spearheaded the defensive effort with eight tackles while Connor O’Brien and RJ Mazolewski intercepted passes.
In Week 12 the Eagles posted one of their most commanding victories ever since moving to Division I in 1999 with a 49-16 road win over Long Beach Poly in the CIF-SS Pac-5 quarterfinals. Poly had entered the game with a 10-1 record and as the #3 seed but after spotting the hosts a quick 6-0 lead the Eagles took control of all aspects of the game and won running away 49-16. Johnny Stanton ran for 132 yards including a school record-tying four touchdowns while Ryan Wolpin rushed for 103 on only nine carries and two scores of his own. Matt Andersen collected nine tackles and RJ Mazolewski and Mack Pierson (1 ½ sacks) added eight of their own.
Santa Margarita avenged a heartbreaking 31-28 loss to Mission Viejo in the 2010 quarterfinals with an exciting 21-20 come from behind victory before an overflow crowd of 8,000 at Mission Viejo High School and a live TV audience. With the Eagles down 20-14 and with the ball on their own 30 with just 6:35 left on the clock, QB Johnny Stanton led his troops on a methodical 12-play drive capped by his one-yard TD run with just 1:02 left to tie the score. John McGrory made the PAT and the Eagles went ahead 21-20. Sammy Gibbs (11 tackles and a fumble recovery) broke up a fourth down pass at the 50 with just 16 seconds left to preserve the win. Zack Bonte (12 tackles), Mack Pierson (12 tackles), and Chris Frost (11 tackles and a forced fumble and fumble recovery) led the defensive effort.
In Week 14 Johnny Stanton rushed for 147 yards and a score and passed for 106 and another to lead the Eagles to a 27-13 victory over San Clemente in the 2011 CIF-SS Pac-5 Championship Game before 14,424 fans at Angel Stadium. It was the Eagles third CIF-SS Championship and first since winning the Division V crown in 1997. The Eagles dominated in time of possession (28:44 to 19:16) and took control the game by going on two long touchdown drives in the second half and limiting the high-powered tritons to just two second half possessions and no scores. Ryan Wolpin added 88 yards and two scores and River Cracraft caught seven passes for 85 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Matt Andersen collected 13 and Mack Pierson added 1 ½ sacks to spearhead the defensive effort. Subsequent to the game Santa Margarita was selected to participate in the 2011 CIF State Championship Bowl Game.
In the State Division Championship Game, Johnny Stanton passed for four touchdowns and ran for two others including the winning score with 0:16 left to propel the Eagles to a dramatic and historical 42-37 win over San Jose Bellarmine before 7,624 fans at The Home Depot Center. It was Santa Margarita’s first State Championship and an amazing two-year turnaround for the program after finishing 3-7 in both 2008 and 2009. Johnny Stanton ran for 77 yards and two touchdowns and completed 14 of 25 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. His game winning 80- yard drive that began with 1:36 left and ended with a one-yard run on fourth down and only 0:16 left was the most dramatic drive in Eagle history. The Eagles finished the season at 13-2 and ranked #2 in California and as high as #10 in the nation by MaxPreps.