Eagles 36 - Cougars 14

MISSION VIEJO, CA., August 26, 2022 – The Eagles settled into Saddleback College for their 2022 home opener last Friday. Their first game of the season at San Juan Hills saw the offense struggle to gain footing, for the most part, with timing and execution,. However, SMCHS was able to come away with the win. Last Friday’s game against Norco took on a much more positive complexion. The Eagles received just what they needed -- a contest with smoother execution and performance living up to their expectations. Quarterback Jaxon Potter and his talented receiving corps were in sync from the first series forward as the confident senior found connection with eight different receivers on the evening on his way to tossing a career tying four touchdown passes. Two were hauled in by the dynamic Niko Lopez and one each by Bain Eiseman and Sean Embree. For Embree it was his first-ever varsity game. Potter was 21-of-34 (61.8%) for 286 yards passing. Freshman running back Skylar Lendsey was impressive with 92 yards on seven carries (13.1 average) and a long of 53 yards.

The defense remained dominant as linebacker Jacob Bower was a man possessed with his second-straight game of 15+ tackles. He also had a sack and three tackles for loss. Bower, Collins Acheampong and LeVar Talley tabulated a total of three sacks between them. The secondary was in “lock down” mode as they held All-CIF-Southern Section receiver Grant Gray to just three catches and three net yards receiving.

The Eagles head to San Diego to face St. Augustine. The Saints (1-1) are in transition with a new coach and several of their key players from last year’s roster have transferred out. A Senior Night home game against Mullen of Denver comes up before a big contest versus Los Alamitos at Cerritos College to close out nonleague play en route to the Trinity League schedule.

Santa Margarita 14 9 7 6 36
Norco 0 7 0 7 14

SM – Embree 15 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
SM – Lopez 28 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
SM – Schuster FG 34
SM – Nash 16 run (Schuster kick blocked)
NOR – Ayers 4 run (Verdiell kick)
SM – Lopez 29 pass from Potter (Schuster kick)
SM – Eiseman 24 pass from Potter (Schuster failed)
NOR – Dudden 4 run (Verdiell kick)

Rushing: SM - S. Lendsey 7-92, Fuimaono 8-37; N - Kaleiwahea 12-41, Dudden 12-27
Passing: SM - Potter 21-34-0- 286; N - Dudden 12-21-0-50
Receiving: E. Mosley 8-78, Lopez 3-62, Eiseman 3-40; N - Thomas 3-16, Carillo 1-23


Summary by Chuck Nan
Statistics by Shane Mielke


Santa Margarita football sharpens attack, overpowers Norco

QB Jaxon Potter completes 21 of 34 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns as the Eagles improve to 2-0

MISSION VIEJO – Santa Margarita coach Anthony Rouzier challenged his offense after a subpar performance in a win against San Juan Hills last week.

The Eagles answered the challenge Friday and put forth a dominant effort in a 36-14 win over Norco at Saddleback College.

“We played with more tempo on offense and got the ball to our guys with speed,” Rouzier said. “We challenged them and they rose to the occasion and did their thing.”

Quarterback Jaxon Potter completed 21 of 34 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns for the Eagles (2-0). He completed passes to eight different receivers.

“He’s starting to let the game come to him,” Rouzier said of Potter. “He threw some big-time balls, did some big time things, got out of the pocket and did his thing. I’m happy for him.”

“All the credit to the receivers who were making plays and the offensive line who gave me time,” Potter said. “We prepared really well this week. The game plan was money and we executed it tonight.”

The Eagles defense was outstanding again and held Norco to just 158 yards of total offense.

Michigan commit Collins Acheampong, LeVar Talley and Jacob Bower each had sacks for the Eagles. Bower had double-digit tackles again Friday after tallying a team-high 16 tackles last week against San Juan Hills.

“Across the board the guys on defense did a good job,” Rouzier said. “I’m proud of these guys.”

Santa Margarita got on the board early with a 56-yard scoring drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Potter to Sean Embree to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

On the ensuing drive, Potter threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Niko Lopez to extend the lead to 14. Potter had 155 yards passing in the first quarter.

Santa Margarita kicker Mason Schuster made a 34-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.

Freshman running back Skylar Lendsey broke free for a 53-yard run to give Santa Margarita the ball in the redzone. Two plays later, Taurian Nash ran for a 14-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 23-0 lead.

Norco (0-1) got on the scoreboard at the end of the second quarter. Christion Camacho recovered a fumble at the Santa Margarita 10-yard line. Running back Isaiah Ayers ran for a 4-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 23-7 going into halftime.

Potter threw touchdown passes to Lopez and Bain Eiseman in the third quarter from 29 and 24 yards out, respectively to put Santa Margarita in front 36-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

Lopez caught two passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns. Emmett Mosley led the Eagles receivers with 82 yards on eight receptions.

Toby Speake intercepted a pass for Norco in the fourth quarter and returned it deep into Santa Margarita territory. Norco quarterback Tyler Dudden ran for a 3-yard touchdown to make the score 36-14.

Dudden completed 11 of 22 passes for 67 yards and ran for 31 yards. Kalani Kaleiwahea led the Cougars with 50 yards rushing.

Santa Margarita will play at St. Augustine of San Diego on Friday, Sept. 2.

Norco will host Rancho Cucamonga on Friday, Sept. 2.

By Michael Huntley
Friday, August 26, 2022
The Orange County Register