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San Clemente Puts a Stop to Eagles' Streak

Santa Margarita's string of 28 victories ends with a 37-14 loss to surprising Tritons.


There's something about winning streaks that San Clemente doesn't like. Three years after the Tritons ended Mater Dei's 27-game streak, they stopped fourth-ranked Santa Margarita's 28-game winning streak with a 37-14 rout of the fourth-ranked Eagles Friday night at San Clemente before a crowd of 6,000.

San Clemente running back Chris McCormack did most of the damage, rushing for 210 yards and three touchdowns in 15 carries and catching two passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. James Allen added 109 yards in 20 carries.

The Tritons (2-2) compiled nearly 500 yards of offense and didn't punt after their opening series.

"We just took it to them the whole game," McCormack said. "We were blocking guys and making holes everywhere. Our receivers were still blocking 20 yards downfield."

San Clemente took a 17-0 lead at halftime and broke it open with McCormack touchdown runs of 48, 40 and 53 yards--all three coming on inside reverses.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Monday October 5, 1998 Orange County Edition Sports Part D Page 8 Sports Desk 2 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
High school football--The name of the player whom the San Clemente High School football team dedicated its game to Friday night was misreported in Saturday's Times Orange County edition. The player is linebacker Daniel Montecinos. The Tritons defeated Santa Margarita, 37-14.

"[Santa Margarita's defense] was calling it, but we were just blocking it," McCormack said. "The holes were big. When I ran around the corner, all I saw was green and I ran as fast as I could."

There was no indication this shocker was coming. San Clemente dropped its first two games to Honolulu Punahou and San Diego Lincoln before registering its first victory last week against a winless Aliso Niguel team.

But San Clemente Coach Mark McElroy said his team picked up some extra motivation midweek when it lost starting linebacker Brett Hadley to a broken left leg. Hadley was a three-year starter.

"The kids dedicated this game to Brett," McElroy said.

But McElroy had no idea his team would trounce a team that was ranked 13th in the state and had the county and Southern Section's longest current winning streak.

"I thought maybe we could play with them," McElroy said. "I thought if we could keep it close until the fourth quarter, we might have a chance. I can't believe that. Boy, that was a lot of fun."

A stunned Santa Margarita Coach Jim Hartigan said his team simply couldn't stop San Clemente's gimmicky misdirection offense.

"I don't think they fooled us, they just out-executed us," Hartigan said. "They've been running it for years and they've beaten some pretty good teams with it."

Even though the streak ended in convincing fashion, Hartigan said the score didn't matter.

"A loss is a loss," Hartigan said. "Whether it's 50-0 or 7-6, it's still a loss."

And it was a loss that McCormack said he saw coming.

"We've played Mater Dei," he said. "We weren't scared of these kids. We knew we could win."

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