St. Anthony football is back in the CIF Southern Section playoffs after missing the postseason last year. The Saints (5-5) host Newport Harbor in Division 9 action at Clark Field tonight. Kickoff is scheduled for 7.
“I’m not surprised,” St. Anthony coach Mario Morales said of his young teams finding unexpected success. “After our 2-4 start the players made a commitment to compete for a league championship, and that’s exactly what they did.”
St. Anthony lost at St. Paul in the Del Rey League title game two weeks ago, but still have a lot of positive momentum thanks to its potent offensive attack led by quarterback Lucas Lehmar, running back Sone Aupiu and receiver Riley Jenkins.
Lehmar is in his first year as a starter but the senior has stepped up to throw for 1,742 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s also run for 549 yards and three touchdowns.
Aupiu has developed into a dynamic and reliable running back in his first year as the featured ball carrier. The sophomore has racked up 1,227 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.
Jenkins has also turned into an incredible asset in his first year playing football. The senior has a team-high 28 receptions, 544 yards and nine touchdowns.
Newport Harbor (7-3) won its first seven games of the season and finished on a three-game losing streak against quality teams in Sunset League play. The Sailors are expecting junior quarterback Cole Lavin back after he missed half the season with injury. He passed for 1,002 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first five games.
“They throw screens very well and defensively they’re very athletic and rally to the ball,” Morales said.
With a win, St. Anthony would face the winner of Monrovia and Santa Fe in the second round.