02 03 SoCal High School Baseball: 2012 Trinity League Season in Review 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

2012 Trinity League Season in Review

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In August I appeared on the High School Football America radio show on AM570 KLAC and gave a season preview of the Trinity League, and since the conference season ended last Friday I thought I would take a look at how I fared in my radio spot.

Let me first start by saying that I spent this season as the color analyst for Orange Lutheran on their radio broadcast which means I had the opportunity to see every league team live once, in addition to seeing them all on film several times.

In August, I said Santa Margarita was the clear-cut favorite to win the league but they would have to beat Servite to prove they truly are the champions, despite winning state last year. I also said the team that was going to surprise people and compete for a league title is St. John Bosco.

While Santa Margarita lost their All-American QB and emotional leader, Johnny Stanton, midway through the season, they faced St. John Bosco the last week of the season for a share of the league title.

Not bad picks.

I predicted that Servite would struggle with their non-conference schedule in facing some very good teams with league and state title aspirations. I thought they would lose one or two of those games and be rolling coming into league. Nobody could have predicted what occurred to the Friars this season. Coach Troy Thomas fired his offensive coordinator after a close win over Rancho Cucamonga and the Friars struggled to recover. While Servite romped JSerra in league they were less than competitive in the rest of their games losing by an average of 19 points.

I predicted that Orange Lutheran would surprise people with their new option offense and run the ball at-will behind a veteran line with two Division 1 commits. The Lancers literally ran through a soft non-conference schedule that included only one playoff team – La Habra. The offense had its moments during league but was generally facing an eight-man box making it difficult to move the ball. Coach Chuck Petersen, in his first year of coaching high school football in California, had a rough indoctrination to the Trinity League by going 1-4.

I predicted JSerra would struggle because of depth issues, which held true until their romp of Orange Lutheran in the league finale. The win gave the Lions only their third ever league win, but it was their second against Orange Lutheran in as many years.

Below are some highlights of the 2012 Trinity League season:

Game of the Year:
St. John Bosco vs JSerra – October 12
The Braves jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter and laid back only to see the Lions roar back and force overtime. In the extra period St. John Bosco responded to a JSerra field goal with a 25-yard TD run by Darren Walker. The game put the Braves at 2-0 in league heading into a huge showdown with Mater Dei.

Play of the Year:
St. John Bosco’s late TD versus Orange Lutheran – October 5th
Clinging to a 14-6 lead and forcing a Lancers turnover deep in their own territory, they Braves marched 89 yards capped by a TD pass from Josh Rosen to AJ Holman. The TD sealed the victory for St. John Bosco and gave them the opportunity to get through league unscathed.

Biggest Surprise:
It would be easy to say that Servite’s disappointing season would be the clear-cut winner. However, I’m going to go with JSerra. Yes, they were shut out by Servite and Santa Margarita and only scored 10 points versus Mater Dei. But they took St. John Bosco to the brink after being down 24, and they absolutely demolished Orange Lutheran 41-6. Coach Jim Hartigan relied heavily on sophomores and juniors and he appears to have that program headed in the right direction.

Biggest Letdown:
This one is a toss up between Servite and Orange Lutheran so I’ll go with both. These two teams were expected to make some noise in league and instead finished with 1-4 records, although OLu beat Servite in week two of the league season. Servite was charged with replacing several key starters and leaders. OLu was replacing their legendary coach that established the program. Both teams showed flashes, but neither could do it consistently.

Players worth the hype:
Johnny StantonDespite missing half the season after tearing an ACL, the standout QB amassed over 1,300 yards and accounted for 17 TD’s. The future Nebraska Cornhusker still plays the role of emotional leader for the Eagles as they head into the postseason looking to defend their state title.

Thomas Duarte Playing WR and DE for Mater Dei, Duarte was the obvious leader of his team. He led the Monarchs with 609 yards receiving with 10 TD’s and was fifth on the team with 31 tackles. Duarte was knocked out of the game in the first half against Bosco, which saw the Monarchs lose by a TD.

Breakout Players:
AJ Holman (Sr.) – After transferring from OLu, the Bosco WR shined to the tune of 34 catches for 508 yards and 6 TD’s.
J.C. Genova (Sr.) The two-way player was a leader on both sides for Mater Dei at RB and LB.
River Cracraft (Sr.) – The Santa Margarita standout led the eagle in receiving yards and TD’s.
Connor O’Brien (Sr.) – The Santa Margarita safety cemented his reputation as one of the best safeties in the region by leading the team in tackles (64) and Interceptions (4).
Tavi Jimmerson (Sr.) The OLu RB led the team with 1,027 yards and 10 TD’s

Future Stars:
Kyle Sweet (So.) – Stepping in for the injured Stanton, Sweet led Santa Margarita to a second place finish in league and another playoff berth.
Ben Humprey (So.) – The Mater Dei DB finished with 16 tackles with 1 interception and 3 fumble recoveries.
Josh Rosen (So.)– The Bosco QB burst onto the scene the second week of the season and never looked back finishing the season with 1,635 yards passing and 18 TD’s with 6 INT.
Jonathan Lockett (Jr.) – The Mater Dei DB had 35 tackles, 6 INT, and 1 fumble recovery while contributing at the WR position as well.
Casey Eugenio (Jr.) The JSerra RB led the team in carries, rushing yards, and TD’s.
Dante Pettis (Jr.) The rangy JSerra receiver led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TD’s.
Ethan Aguayo (So.) The long receiver came on in league for the Lions collecting two TD’s versus OLu in the last game of the season.
Parker Godfrey (So.) The JSerra LB led the team in tackles with almost 100. He collected 12 versus OLu.

Many people consider the Trinity League the best in the state, and some even think it’s the best in the country. Some have even gone as far as calling it the SEC of High School Football. The coaches are paid big money and are expected to deliver big results.

While we may never get a definitive answer to the question of whether this is the best league in the country, we do know that this league is loaded with talent top-to-bottom.

This season saw three teams finish with 1-4 league records, not what anyone involved with those programs envisioned. We saw some great games; we saw some blowouts. We saw great players making great plays. We saw unknown players who will undoubtedly garner recruiting attention. We saw some magical moments; we saw some forgettable moments.

Basically, we saw another Trinity League football season. Can’t wait for the next one. 
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