Photo Credit: Leonard Ortiz
NORWALK — Servite’s football players took the field Friday with the memory of a fallen classmate in their hearts.
The Friars left Cerritos College with their biggest victory of the season.
Quarterback Leo Hannan threw three of his four touchdown passes in the first half and running back Quaid Carr scored twice in the second half to lead Servite past Santa Margarita 50-42 in an explosive Trinity League game.
Servite (5-4, 1-3), ranked sixth in Orange County, boosted its playoff chances by claiming a fifth victory to ensure that it will finish with at least a .500 record, a key component for receiving an at-large berth.
The Friars also recorded their first Trinity League win since 2021 as they played for fallen classmate and former teammate Jack Kennedy. The senior died suddenly this past week, the school stated Friday.
Servite honored Kennedy with a moment of silence before kickoff. Most of the team then prayed in the end zone after marching onto the field.
“This game was dedicated to him and I think we definitely pulled out a great win,” said senior running back Johnny Merrill, who counted Kennedy as one of his best friends. “We stood together as a team even through this tough week.”
“I’ve had my moments (of struggle),” Merrill added, “but football is a great outlet to leave it all out on the field. Kind of get your anger out, get your emotion out.”
Santa Margarita (5-4, 1-3), ranked third in the county, secured its fifth victory last week to ensure that it will finish with at least a .500 record.
Hannan passed for a season-high 338 yards to help Servite hold off the Eagles and Trent Mosley, who scored four touchdowns and had 11 catches for 219 yards.
The teams combined for 1,008 yards of offense. Servite outgained Santa Margarita 513-495.
“Our offense is super sweet,” said Hannan, who completed 20 of 27 passes and tossed touchdowns to four different players. “We get better every game. We’re peaking at a good time.”
“We’re very excited,” Hannan added. “Playoffs are a big deal for us. We did not make it last year.”
Servite grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter as Hannan lofted a third-and-9 pass for a 68-yard strike to Ethan Naudin. The score arrived after an interception at the 1-yard line by Friars senior safety Beau Jako.
Santa Margarita responded early in the second period with a 48-yard touchdown burst by running back Skylar Lendsey.
But Hannan kept Servite’s offense revving. He threw a 20-yard touchdown and a 2-point conversion to tight end Aidan O’Callaghan.
The junior then capitalized on a botched Santa Margarita punt. One play after the Friars took over at the Eagles 15 following a high snap and miskick, Hannan threw a touchdown to Quinn Rosenkranz as Servite opened a 22-7 with 5:16 left in the opening half.
The teams then traded scores before intermission.
Lendsey scored on a 10-yard TD run after the Eagles received a 54-yard kickoff return from Mosley. Lendsey rushed for 147 yards in the first half.
But Servite answered with a 78-yard scoring drive capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Camren Hughes to Jacob Trevizu.
Santa Margarita started the second half well, driving for a 2-yard touchdown run by Mosley from the Wildcat formation to trim the Friars’ lead to 29-21.
Servite’s offense, however, continued to roll. The Friars marched 92 yards to take a 36-21 lead on a 5-yard scoring run by Quaid Carr (110 yards).
The teams traded scores later in the third quarter. Mosley scored his 22nd touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run but Hannan kept Servite in control by throwing a 31-yard TD to Carr. The score came after Santa Margarita narrowly missed recovering an onside kick.
Servite’s defense made the first stop of the second half as cornerback Tristin Ordaz broke up a third-down pass intended for Mosley with 1:18 left in the third. The Friars promptly drove for a 1-yard touchdown run by O’Callaghan on a third-and-goal for a 50-28 lead with 6:33 left.
On the drive, Servite aggressively converted a fourth-and-5 from the Santa Margarita 41 thanks to a 9-yard reception by O’Callaghan coming out of a timeout. The Friars considered punting but brought their offense back onto the field for what proved to be the game-winning drive.
“Something (was) speaking to me,” first-year Servite coach Chris Reinert said of the decision. “I looked at my brother (Mat) and my brother just looked at me and shook his head, ‘Yeah, you got to go for it.’ “
The decision proved to be significant. On the ensuing possession, Mosley caught a pass over the middle and turned up along the sideline for an electric 84-yard TD from James Johnson. The quick strike cut Servite’s lead to 50-34 with 4:24 left.
Santa Margarita then recovered an onside kick and drove for an 8-yard TD caught by Mosley, who also grabbed the 2-point conversion to make it 50-42 with 2:26 remaining.
“He is a special football player,” Reinert said of Mosley. “He’s unreal.”
But so was Servite’s determination this week as it grieved for Jack Kennedy.
“This game was totally for him,” said O’Callaghan, who helped the Friars run out the clock on their final drive.
“We stick together,” Hannan added. “Our brotherhood is one of the most important things at the school. I’m happy it shows.”
Next week on Oct. 27, Servite closes out the Trinity League by playing host to JSerra (4-5, 1-3) at Cerritos College while Santa Margarita takes on Mater Dei (8-1, 3-1) at Santa Ana Stadium.