Eagles 28 - West (Utah) 27

MISSION VIEJO, CA., August 18, 2023 – Friday’s 2023 SMCHS football opener versus West High School (Salt Lake City) started out with an odd feeling in the air. As both schools began to familiarize themselves with the gridiron once again, the theme of the night turned bittersweet. The Eagles trailed early to a motivated Panther’s team who scored quickly and added a 2-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead. Tragedy struck for SMCHS when starting quarterback James Johnson, a Servite transfer and in his first action with the Eagles, suffered an injury on the final play of the first quarter. After that point, the Eagles were able to ultimately wrestle  control by making big plays on defense and taking advantage of West’s mistakes. Then, a double-digit lead in the fourth-quarter was cut to 28-21. West found the end zone with less than three minutes remaining and brought the score to 28-27. The visitor’s elected to attempt a 2-point conversion for the win. That plan was soon extinguished by a solid play from linebacker Gage Burnett. The senior linebacker broke through to meet the runner and drop him behind the line to preserve the victory. SMCHS prevailed despite being outgained offensively, 483 yards to 205.

Luke Anderson led the defense with nine tackles. J.J. Hanne added eight tackles and 1 1/2 of the team’s three sacks. Noah Sulick and Sean Embree each recovered fumbles and Jayden Dose forced a fumble.

Trent Mosley was a dynamic presence all over the field. The talented sophomore led the team in receiving yards and scored two touchdowns. Mosley gained just six yards on four rushing attempts on the ground but made the most of it by scoring twice. He also hauled in eight receptions for 75 yards and gained 54 yards on kick-off returns -- a total of 135 all-purpose yards. The eight receptions were a new career-high. Sophomore Skylar Lendsey was a grinder as he toiled for 92 yards rushing and caught a touchdown pass from senior QB Hunter Melton.

QB James Johnson was 4/5 and 57 yards. QB Hunter Melton was 7/10 an 78 yards and 1 TD. WR Trent Mosley caught 8 passes for 75 yards and rushed 4 times for 6 yards and 2 TDs. WR Sean Embree caught 1 pass for 44 yards and recovered a West fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. RB Skylar Lendsey rushed 17 times for 92 yards averaging 5.4 yards a carry. On the defense, DB Luke Anderson had 9 tackles (6 solo, 3 asst.). DL J.J. Hanne had 8 tackles (5 solo, 3 asst.) and 1.5 sacks. LB Noah Sulick had 8 tackles (3 solo, 5 asst.) and recovered a fumble caused by Jayden Dose. LB LeVar Talley had 8 tackles (5 solo, 3 asst).

Santa Margarita 0 21 7 0 28
West 8 0 13 6 21

W – Ruesga 15 pass from Su'esu'e (Pan pass from Su'esu'e)
SM – Mosley 3 run (Gass kick)
SM– Embree fumble recovery in endzone (Gass kick)
SM– Lendsey 11 pass from Melton (Gass kick)
SM – Mosley 1 run (Gass kick)
W – Pan 13 pass from Su'esu'e (bad snap)
W – Pan 8 pass from Su'esu'e (Peche kick)
W – Vaenuku 2 run (extra point failed)

Rushing: SM - Lendsey 17-92, Robinson 5-20; WEST - Malepeai 10-60
Passing: SM - Johnson 4-5-0-57, H. Melton 7-10-1-78; WEST - Su'esu'e 23-29-0-342
Receiving: T. Mosley 8-75, Embree 1-44, Lendsey 2-16; WEST - Pan 10-26

Summary by Chuck Nan
Statistics by Shane Mielke


Football roundup: San Clemente, Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo begin season with victories

Santa Margarita 28, West (Utah) 27: Santa Margarita’s defense stopped a late two-point conversion to narrowly edge West High of Salt Lake City.

Luke Anderson led the Santa Margarita (1-0) defense with 9 tackles and J.J. Hanne added eight tackles with 1.5 sacks. Noah Sulick and Sean Embree each recovered fumbles for the Eagles and Jayden Dose forced a fumble.

Trent Mosley led the team in receiving with 75 yards and had two rushing touchdowns. Sophomore Skylar Lendsey had 92 yards rushing and caught a touchdown pass from Hunter Melton.

By Michael Huntley
Saturday, August 19, 2023
The Orange County Register