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Football: Jeremy McNichols comes through for Santa Margarita [Video]

September 26, 2013|By Eric Sondheimer

It's taken a little while for Jeremy McNichols to get comfortable after transferring from Lakewood, but the senior running back finally showed what all the fuss was about on Thursday night, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns and catching four passes for 82 yards and another touchdown to help Santa Margarita hold off Trabuco Hills, 28-26, in a nonleague thriller between two possible Pac-5 Division playoff teams.

"That was entertaining high school football theater," Santa Margarita Coach Harry Welch said.

The game came down to one play with 31 seconds left. Trabuco Hills quarterback Tommy Kelley pulled the Mustangs (4-1) to within two points with a nine-yard touchdown run. Trabuco Hills then tried for the two-point conversion to tie the game, but a Kelley pass over the middle was too high and fell incomplete.

K.J. Costello passed for 259 yards for Santa Margarita. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Sweet and a 49-yard touchdown pass to McNichols.

Kelley had touchdown passes of 65 and 10 yards to Connor O'Malley and a 45-yard scoring pass to Jacob Breeland. He passed for 208 yards.

After a 14-14 halftime time, Trabuco Hills went up, 20-14, on an O'Malley touchdown catch. Then McNichols' 49-yard touchdown reception put Santa Margarita on top, 21-20. A McNichols one-yard run with 3:34 left made it 28-20. Then Kelley directed a successful drive, but Santa Margarita's defense came through on the conversion try.

McNichols was a difference-maker with his speed. He could provide a lift when Trinity League play begins in two weeks for the Eagles (3-2).

"He came of age tonight," Welch said. "Jeremy was pretty special."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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