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ORANGE COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

Thompson Leads Santa Margarita to League Title

November 11, 2000|BEN BOLCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Santa Margarita found a winning formula almost a month ago when it put its season in the hands of Tyler Thompson and Ashton White.

Last week, the running backs turned in yeoman-like performances to lead the Eagles to a victory over then top-ranked Mater Dei. Friday, they turned up their games another notch in No. 6 Santa Margarita's 41-26 victory over No. 8 Servite to give the Eagles their first Serra League title.

Thompson rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns. White contributed 161 yards and one touchdown, making the Eagles (8-2, 3-0) one of the hottest teams heading into next week's Southern Section Division I playoffs.

"The running game really got us to where we are," Santa Margarita Coach Jim Hartigan said. "We turned a corner in the Bishop Amat game [in Week 6] when we started running the ball well."

Thompson set a single-game school record Friday with 35 carries. He has rushed for more than 200 yards in three games--all in the last four weeks. White has rushed for more than 100 yards in three games.

"They're just solid together," Hartigan said. "When one runs hard, the other one seems to feed off him."

Servite (7-3, 1-2), which is hoping for a wild-card berth into the playoffs, found a capable running back of its own in Justin Domineck, who usually backs up standout Lamar Mason. But Domineck got the bulk of the carries and finished with 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Still, it wasn't enough to overcome the combined efforts of Thompson and White. Thompson scored the game's first two touchdowns on runs of 12 and 13 yards to put Santa Margarita up, 14-0.

The Friars closed to within 27-20 on the first play of the fourth quarter when quarterback Adam Ernst found John Morris wide open in the corner of the end zone for a 32-yard touchdown pass.

But Thompson added his final touchdown on a one-yard run to give the Eagles a 34-20 lead. The teams then traded touchdowns, but Servite's last real hopes ended when Santa Margarita cornerback Trevor Zinn made a diving interception of an Ernst pass with little more than three minutes to play.

The Eagles ran out the clock from there to give Hartigan his third league title and first in Division I. Santa Margarita had previously won two Sea View League titles.

"I'm beyond excited about the way we're playing," White said. "We're just stepping up each week."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SERRA

*--*

League Overall School W L T W L T Santa Margarita 3 0 0 8 2 0 Mater Dei 2 1 0 8 2 0 Servite 1 2 0 7 3 0 St. John Bosco 0 3 0 3 7 0

*--*

WEEK 10

Friday's results

* Mater Dei 41, St. John Bosco 7

* Santa Margarita 41, Servite 26

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