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.
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.
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 Stanton – Despite 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.
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
Kyle Sweet (So.) – Stepping in for the injured Stanton, Sweet
led Santa Margarita to a second place finish in league and another playoff
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