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Miller Gets a Kick Out of the Eagles

October 07, 2000

There might not be a facet of Orange County football that Tustin Coach Myron Miller respects more than Santa Margarita's special teams play.

"Santa Margarita is probably the best team I've ever coached against year in and year out on special teams," Miller said. "They put more pressure on me than any team I've faced. They'll block every punt and conversion if you're not coaching your kids right."

Over its last 47 games, Santa Margarita has blocked 21 kicks.

"We put twice as much time in on special teams this week," Miller said. "I'm not good enough to win on special teams, but I certainly don't want to lose on special teams. They're just unbelievable on special teams."

Santa Margarita's punt return squad has scored twice, once on Johnnie Walker's school record-tying 60-yard return in a 10-point victory over Lakewood, and on Tyler Thompson's fumble recovery in the end zone against Los Alamitos. Kicker Curtis Cooper is nine for 10 on point-after conversions, three of four on field goal attempts--two against Lakewood, and a 42-yarder to ice a 22-17 victory over Chino Hills Ayala.

The Eagles average 22.9 yards on kickoff returns and 20.8 on punt returns.


Esperanza's side of the stands at Valencia High were understandably full for the No. 3 Aztecs' game against Mission Viejo Friday.

This was a big game between two traditional Orange County powers, and both teams were 3-1 and looking for some momentum heading into league play.

So how many fans were in the stands on the Diablos' side? All of 116 were present at game time.

"Mission has never traveled well," explained Mike Johnson, a Mission Viejo senior. "This is pathetic. A big game like this and nobody's here."

Johnson blamed a traffic jam on the Orange Freeway and the fact that the 7 p.m. start was the earliest of the season for the Diablos.


It's not the type of score that generally instigates a running clock, but Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson and Wilmington Banning's Ed Lalau agreed to let the clock roll for much of the fourth quarter Friday.

Mater Dei led, 14-0, at halftime, but scored on its first two drives of the second half for a 28-0 lead. Banning was unable to move the ball during the third quarter, then snapped a punt out of the end zone for a safety and a 30-0 Mater Dei lead with 10:40 left to play. At that point, Lalau saw the writing on the wall.

"He asked me if I would mind if we let [the clock] run," Rollinson said. "I said I had no problem with that."


Friday was the final night of nonleague action for most schools and most players are itching to get at the games that count. However, Laguna Hills Coach Bruce Ingalls had a little business to take care of first.

Ingalls wanted to beat Capistrano Valley to earn a little respect for the Sea View League in South Orange County.

"We're always looking for some bragging rights," Ingalls said before his team's game against the Cougars. "Beating a South Coast League team is big for us."

After losing in Weeks 2 and 3 to the South Coast League's Trabuco Hills and Mission Viejo, the Hawks broke through with a 35-13 victory over Capistrano Valley.


Coach Doug Case has been pleased with his Foothill team's competitive nature. But, he said, it may have finally let down against La Habra Thursday when the Knights allowed more points, 41, than they had allowed in their first four games combined, 39.

"There might have been some frustration," said Case, whose team lost, 41-14, to fall to 1-4. "When you're battling and battling and you've come so close and you never get the payday, when you get behind the eight-ball, it's easy to relax."

Foothill's first three losses by six, three and seven points.

"We need to learn how to win, and we've been going through growing pains," Case said. "If we can get Canyon next week, we can get some momentum. It only takes three wins in this league [to qualify for playoffs]."


Sonora won a Southern Section Division 2-A title in 1975, but historians need to look back another five years to find the last Raider team that began the season 4-0.

"We were just trying to figure that out today," said assistant coach Mike Baker, who graduated from Sonora in 1984.

Sonora finished second behind El Dorado in the Orange League in 1975, but came back to defeat the Golden Hawks for its only Southern Section football title.

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