Despite dropping a heartbreaking CIF-SS Semifinal game 24-27 to El Modena High School, the St. Margaret's football program had a lot to be proud of this fall.
The 10-3 Tartans returned to the CIF-SS Semifinals for the first time since 2014 and finished the season ranked No. 19 according to the Orange County Register's top 25 poll
. Offensively, St. Margaret's gained a total of 4,572 yards on the year with 2,820 yards through the air and 1,752 on the ground. A big part of that production was quarterback James Mott (Ranked No.9 in passing by The Orange County Register
) who threw for 32 touchdowns and completed 60.7 percent of his passes. On the receiving end of 20 of those touchdown passes was University of Pennsylvania commit Ryan Cragun (No. 1 receiving) who had 1,546 yards on 90 catches. On the ground, running back Marcus Knight (No. 17 rushing) had 1,247 yards on 173 carries and notched 17 rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, St. Margaret's pass coverage kept the opposing team's air attack contained, allowing only 37 percent of passes to be completed. The defense also recorded 24 sacks and forced 20 turnovers during the year. Linebacker Duke Ballard led the team in tackles with 100 while also recording a sack and interception on the year. Langston Sholl and Roger Penske led the team in sacks, both tied at five. Cragun also exceled on the defense, pulling in a team-leading five interceptions.
On special teams, kicker Chris Vartanian was 42 for 47 on extra points and 8 for 12 on field goal attempts. Vartanian also handled the Tartan punting duties with 27 punts for a 41.6 yard average. On kick returns, Cragun (8 returns for 196 yards, 1 touchdown) and Marcus Knight (10 for 220) were the big producers for the Tartans. Cragun also added four punt returns for touchdowns during the season.
St. Margaret's has already has begun preparing for the 2018 season with an eye on capturing an elusive seventh CIF Southern Section Football Championship.
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