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Football: Troy Thomas vs. Harry Welch and who's the underdog?

The Trinity League begins on Friday with an intriguing coaching matchup: Servite and Coach Troy Thomas against Santa Margarita and Coach Harry Welch at Saddleback College.

The two Crespi graduates are battling over who gets the underdog role, and the reason is both thrive on getting their players to perform at their best when others don't think they can.

Santa Margarita (5-0), ranked No. 1 in Southern California, will be playing its first game without quarterback Johnny Stanton (torn ACL). Josh Canty or Kyle Sweet will take over running the offense.

Thomas thinks the Eagles will be just fine. "I don't think they changed their linemen or running back," he said. "They're good."

But he does admit losing Stanton will have an impact. "That guy is such a stud," he said. "I love that kid. I enjoyed watching him play. He was exactly what you want leading your team. I don't think you replace that, but I also don't think one guy makes a team. I don't see them changing what they do."

Servite (2-3), after being shut out in consecutive games, defeated St. Paul, 38-6, with a new quarterback, sophomore Travis Waller, who Thomas said has become the starter. But one game doesn't mean the Friars have solved their offensive problems. They're starting one freshman and two sophomores on the line, and that's a big obstacle in the Trinity League.

So who's the true underdog?

"If Harry says he's the underdog, he's crazy," Thomas said.

-- Eric Sondheimer

 
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