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California double deflection may be catch of the year

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Santa Margarita (Calif.) High quarterback Johnny Stanton tends to do most of his damage with his legs, which he proved again with a 173-yard, two-touchdown performance in his team's 28-20 victory against Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco Prep on Friday night. Yet Stanton's most notable play in that faceoff -- and maybe of the entire year -- came through the air.

As you can see in the clip above, wide receiver Sean Modster somehow pulled in a twice-deflected pass for a key first down during Santa Margarita's Pac-5 Division playoff clinching win. The first tip of Stanton's pass came from Modster himself, who couldn't quite hang on to the ball. But the sophomore wide out didn't give up, following the ball to defend against an interception or keep himself in play.

That proved to be wise when the St. John Bosco defensive back failed to bring in an interception, instead keeping the ball alive for a second time … and changing the ball's trajectory so that it landed right in Modster's hands.

While Modster may have taken the lion's share of plaudits for the grab, it's impossible to write out what Stanton did on the play. The quarterback bounced out of the pocket with an intuitive feel for the St. John Bosco defensive pressure, finding an open pocket in which to fire his initial bullet pass to Modster.

The catch was a big one, too, as it kept alive a Santa Margarita drive in a wild game that was far closer and more tense than the final scoreline indicated. The Eagles may have led throughout, but they needed every break they could get.

"We needed this one," legendary Santa Margarita football coach Harry Welch told the Orange County Register. "We couldn't do more than we did tonight. We played an outstanding team.

"If this were a CIF championship or a semifinal, this would have been a worthy match. What an exciting game."

What a game, and what a catch.

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