MISSION VIEJO -- The highly anticipated Rumble at the Ranch on Friday turned out to be remarkably one-sided as No. 6 Santa Margarita scored a 39-7 victory over No. 24 Tesoro at Saddleback College.
The game wasn't as close as the score. Santa Margarita (2-0) committed two turnovers and several 15-yard penalties, but that didn't stop it from thoroughly beating its neighborhood rival.
"We played much better than I had any right to expect this early," said second-year coach Harry Welch. "Johnny Stanton is a pretty special kid. If I was playing agianst him, I'd be worried. Awfully great to have River Cracraft back (from an injury). And how about that defense?"
Stanton passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns to River Cracraft—he had five catches for 112 yards—as the Eagles (2-0) look forward to playing another local team next week, Trabuco Hills (2-0).
Stanton was 11 of 18 and his scores went for 34 and 15 yards. The dual-threat QB also scored on a seven-yard run that gave Margarita a 21-0 lead with 3 minutes 47 seconds left in the first half. He also carried 10 times for 66 yards, and Ryan Wolpin carried 14 for 115.
That defense dominated Tesoro (1-1), whose primary offensive weapons are versatile quarterback Matt Adam and running back Nate Tago.
Adam completed four-of-12 passes for 29 yards and an interception; he also carried 14 times for a net of five yards. He was sacked five times, three by Sean Donegan and twice by Chris Frost.
Tago, who scored four TDs in last year's 35-21 victory in which Tesoro overcame a 21-7 third quarter deficit -- it was 21-7 going into the third quarter this season, too -- was also manhandled. He carried 11 times for three yards.
Indicative of the game was Tesoro's struggle to score. After driving from the Santa Margarita 47 to get a first down at the two-yard line, it took the Titans four plays for Tago to finally punch it in from two yards.
"We were very disappointed we gave the game last year with five turnovers," Welch said. "It was important to us to make a statement, to at least play well ... because we really felt we didn't play well, we didn't finish last year.
Tesoro coach Brian Barnes said the analysis was pretty simple: "They're a great football team and they flat came out and kicked our butts. we have to go back and regroup ... If we don't improve, it's going to be tough for us. They executed perfectly and we didn't. Football is about blocking and tackling. They beat us blocking and they probably beat us tackling, too."