Two teams that may be slugging it out for the Trinity League title in a couple of years met Friday night at Saddleback College, where they slugged it out to stay out of last place.
A week after one of its best performances ever, JSerra was defeated by Servite, 28-0. Perhaps worse than the loss was the spectre of being without stellar junior Casey Eugenio, who was assisted—and then carried—off the field in the third quarter.
It was unknown what the condition of Eugenio was, but he has been a standout on both sides of the ball for the Lions (5-3, 0-3). He was hurt after throwing the ball downfield on a halfback pass in which he showed a good arm and a quick release, although a JSerra receiver was nowhere to be found.
JSerra was coming off an overtime loss to St. John Bosco, 44-41; Friday, Bosco took sole possession of first place in the Trinity League with a 27-19 victory over Mater Dei in a battle of state-ranked teams.
A loss by either team in this game would end any chance of the playoffs regardless of what either did in the final two games of the regular season.
Servite (3-5, 1-2), which won Southern Section Pac-5 championships in 2009 and 2010, has had one of the toughest schedules in the section, and is competing with nine sophomores and a freshman in its starting lineup.
The Friars got the better of a similarly young JSerra squad with a tough defense and an offense that scored a touchdown in each quarter.
One of those sophomores, quarterback Travis Waller, passed for one touchdown and ran for another. Staked to a 7-0 lead on Nick Difillippo's 28-yard run, Waller connected on a deep pass covering 58 yards to Neil Pauu with 3:53 left in the half.
Servite added Andrew Moore's 1-yard run in the third quarter on a drive that was kept alive by a fake punt on fourth-and-14 in which Mana Pauu scrambled 29 yards.
Waller closed the scoring with a 14-yard run in the fourth.
Eugenio, who recovered a fumble on the game's first play, was injured with 4:04 left in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. With help on each side of him, Eugenio was assisted toward the sideline. After a few feet, he was lifted and carried to the bench, which brought an audible gasp from the crowd.
JSerra, despite the loss, can still play spoiler. The Lions play Santa Margarita (7-1, 2-1) next week and Orange Lutheran (6-2, 2-1) after that.
Servite closes with Bosco (4-4, 3-0) next week and then arch-rival Mater Dei (6-2, 2-1). All of Bosco's losses are by forfeit.