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Eagles Ranked No. 1 in Nation, but Killer Schedule Looms

Santa Margarita is expected to improve on its 13-2 season

When the high school football season opens in two weeks, at least one entity will have Santa Margarita ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation.

The opinion of writer Dallas Jackson and a number of contributors to Rivals.com is that the Eagles are the best team in the country and have the schedule to prove it. The defending champion of the Southern Section Pac-5 Division, Santa Margarita is coming off a 13-2 season. It didn't win the Trinity League title—losses to Mater Dei and Servite prevented it—but few remember that footnote after winning the California State Division I Bowl Championship.

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Led by quarterback Johnny Stanton, running back Ryan Wolpin and receiver River Cracraft, Santa Margarita opens the season on ESPN2 against Phoenix Brophy Prep at Phoenix Community College on Aug. 25. Stanton has committed to Nebraska and Cracraft to Washington State.

The offense will be anchored by three returning linemen, Eric Bunte (6-7, 310), Dane Crane (6-3, 313) and Riley Sorenson (6-5, 320). Bunte has committed to UCLA and Crane to Washington.

The Eagles also face a powerhouse Trinity League schedule. Servite has won a share of every league title since 2005, and Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran are expected to be much better this season after missing the playoffs.

Rivals had Santa Margarita ranked No. 31 at the conclusion of last season before giving the Eagles a bump to No. 1. ESPNHS ranked Santa Margarita No. 27 at the conclusion of last season, and Maxpreps had the Eagles at 23.

Maxpreps has Santa Margarita ranked No. 4 in its preseason Xcellent 25.

In addition to playing Brophy Prep and the Trinity League powers, Santa Margarita will face Ventura St. Bonaventure and perennial Los Angeles City Section power Carson in nonleague games.

Pautna August 11, 2012 at 05:48 PM
"Santa Margarita opens the season on ESPN2 against Phoenix Brophy Prep at Phoenix Community College on Aug. 25" Uh, what time?
Martin Henderson August 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM
The broadcast is set to begin at 7 p.m. The game was originally supposed to be played on Aug. 24, but was recently changed. It's so big, apparently, that the local community college changed the location of its game to accommodate this one, although I haven't confirmed it -- just a story that I heard. We'll have more about this game on Patch.

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