Tartans Deliver Solid Performance in First-Round Football Playoff Win
The Tartans had something to prove facing off against Div. VI foe Huntington Beach High School in the first round of the CIF-SS Playoffs on Friday evening. Facing a student body of close to 3,000, St. Margaret's 473 upper school students is minuscule in comparison. But on Friday, the only thing that mattered to the Tartans were the 11 players on the other side of the ball.
The Tartans were happy to play the David to the Oiler's Goliath, dominating the first half 21-7 starting with a gutsy fourth-down play resulting in a 27-yard Touchdown strike from James Mott to Will Kenner. St. Margaret's relied on tenacious defense and expert special teams play to control most of the first two quarters. It took till the fourth quarter for Huntington Beach to make things interesting, closing within four on a field goal to make it 21-17. The Tartan defense quickly shut the door on a Huntington Beach rally with Koa Todd producing two consecutive sacks. Todd followed up with a 21-yard option run for a score, sealing it for the Tartans 28-17.
"It's exactly what we needed, coming out strong in the first round of the playoffs. Now the rest of the division and Orange County knows what we are capable of," said senior linebacker/running back Koa Todd.
Offensively the Tartans were led by quarterback James Mott's 101 yards passing with two touchdowns. Koa Todd provided two scores, one on the ground and one through the air, rushing for 60 yards on ten attempts. Will Kenner had three receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown.
Koa Todd had a herculean night on the defensive side with nine tackles, five assists, four tackles for a loss and three sacks. Nick Falshaw was stellar as well, adding seven tackles, seven assists and one tackle for a loss. Freshman defensive back Cooper Barkate notched an interception for the Tartans.
St. Margaret's special teams were a difference maker all evening with kicker Chris Vartanian consistently pinning the Oilers with five touchbacks and averaging over 45 yards per punt. Alex Smith provided a score by blocking and returning a Huntington Beach punt in the second quarter.
The Tartans will make the trek to face Serrano High Shcool on Friday, November 9 in the quarterfinals. Game time is TBA; please consult the athletics website for more details.