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Football: Coach Harry Welch is embracing new challenge

September 26, 2012 | 11:15 am

Hold off on predicting the demise of Santa Margarita after losing quarterback Johnny Stanton for the season because of a torn ACL.

Harry Welch is still around as coach, and that's a big deal.

"This is my greatest challenge as a coach," he said.

Welch doesn't fail too often, and he's taking it personally to find a way to keep the Eagles in the upper echelon of teams.

"Nobody replaces [Johnny Stanton]," Welch said. "The whole team [and] the student body kind of move with him. It's going to be very difficult to be the same football team or even approach to be the same football team."

Welch thinks he has three promising quarterbacks in the program _ junior Josh Canty, sophomore Kyle Sweet and 6-foot-4 freshman KJ Costello. The problem is there's not much time for them to get the varsity experience needed to succeed in the tough Trinity League.

The good news is that Stanton isn't abandoning the Eagles. He's been at practice since Monday offering support.

"He's just a great kid," Welch said. "I get him a chair and he sits."

Welch is the only coach to have guided three different teams to CIF state championship bowl victories. It's going to be interesting to see what he has left in his bag of tricks.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Photo: Santa Margarita Coach Harry Welch. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.