Eagles 27 - Lakewood 17

MISSION VIEJO, CA., September 22, 2000 – The Eagles put together their third strong fourth quarter effort in as many weeks by scoring 17 unanswered points in a span of nine minutes to turn a 10-10 game into an impressive 27-17 win over the Division I Lakewood Lancers (2-1) before 3,000 rain-soaked fans at Saddleback College. The win was the Eagles first at Saddleback College since beating Bishop Amat in Week 6 of the 1999 season, and brought the Eagle record to 2-1 on the year. Unlike the previous two weeks, Santa Margarita capitalized on early opportunities and built a quick 10-0 first quarter lead. Tyler Thompson returned the opening kickoff 36 yards to the Lancer 41. The Eagles drove to the Lancer 14 where Curtis Cooper hit a 32-yard field goal. The three points were the first scored by the Eagles in the first half of any game this year, but more impressively they were the first points scored against the Lancers all season. The Lancers were forced to punt on their first possession where junior Johnnie Walker scooped up the bouncing punt at the Eagle 40 and returned it 60-yards for a score. The 60-yard runback tied the school record set by former Eagle great Billy Newman against Fountain Valley in 1996 and put the Eagles ahead 10-0 with just 6:03 elapsed. The Lancers responded with a 65-yard drive highlighted by a 53-yard reception, but were forced to punt. After an Eagle punt the Lancers struck again with a 59-yard reception, but Trevor Zinn forced a fumble on the play and Walker recovered it on the Eagle three. The promising Eagle drive highlighted by two Matt Vogel receptions and 21 yards rushing by Ashton White stalled at midfield where Santa Margarita punted. An impressive 13-play, 93-yard drive by the Lancers capped by a six-yard Josh Farmer run closed the gap to 10-7 with only 0:16 left in the half.

Troubles began for both teams early in the third quarter when the skies opened. A Lancer fumble was recovered by Alex Huston (eight tackles, ½ sacks and a 14-yard reception) on the 23; however the Eagles were unable to capitalize when Cooper's 35-yard field goal was wide right. After a Lancer punt Tyler Thompson (13 carries for 61 yards) fumbled on the Eagle 21 setting up a Joe Betschel 27-yard field goal to tie the score with 3:22 left in the quarter. The Eagles, who always seem to play well in wet weather, then marched 65 yards through the rain on 10 plays and scored on a three-yard pass from Matt Dlugolecki to sophomore TE Dustin Slinkard on 4th and goal with 10:26 left to play. On the drive White (14 rushed for 79 yards) rushed for 39 yards and Slinkard caught a 12-yard pass for a key first down. Vogel then picked off an errant Lancer pass on first down to set the Eagles up at the Lancer 32. Thompson caught a Dlugolecki pass and raced to the Lancer two where Dlugolecki (7 of 13 for 83 yards, 11 yards rushing and Offensive Player of the Game honors) booted around right end for a two-yard score and a 24-10 lead at the 7:20 mark. The Eagles forced another punt and went on a seven-play, 47-yard drive ending with Cooper's second field goal this one from 27-yards for a commanding 27-10 lead. Farmer's 15-yard TD catch from Bryan Clark with 0:26 left closed out the scoring. Defensively, the Eagles played well against a very athletic Lancer team. DE Huston stood out as did LB Vogel, FS Tom Cappelletti (career-high seven tackles) and DT Chris Cutler (five tackles, ½ sacks).

By Adrian Peters
Sports Information Director