Last week when our Lions achieved their second victory of the season, Coach Jim Hartigan celebrated an exciting milestone – the 200th victory of his coaching career!
Coach Hartigan joined JSerra as head coach in 2007. Before taking on the position, he led the Santa Margarita Eagles from 1989-2002 and Clovis West High in Fresno from 2003-2006. Since coming to JSerra, the Lions have improved their record and become a stand out contender in the competitive Trinity League.
This season the JSerra Lions have gone undefeated, winning 40-0 versus Cabrillo High School and 45-21 versus Chino Hills.
Join us tonight as Coach Hartigan leads the Lions against Huntington Beach in a chance to make his career record 201!
The JSerra football team may not have had possession for very long against Dana Hills but when they did, they made it count.
In a nonleague game filled with fumbles and penalties, the Lions were able to produce enough big plays to come away with a 28-12 victory on September 27 at Saddleback College.
On JSerra’s (4-0) first play from scrimmage, senior quarterback Nick Robinson connected with senior receiver Dante Pettis for an 80-yard touchdown pass, igniting the large homecoming crowd in attendance. It took 14 seconds for the Lions to get on the board.
The Dolphins (1-4) would answer with a drive that ate up five minutes of the clock, but not without a little help. After being forced to punt, JSerra fumbled the return and the Dolphins recovered, giving them prime field position. Facing a fourth-and-one during the ensuing drive at the Lions five-yard line, Dana Hills quarterback Mac Vail dove ahead and got the yardage the team needed. Senior running back Justin Scott would finish it off with a four-yard touchdown run. A blocked point after kept the Lions up 7-6.
The Lions would fumble again four minutes later, but the Dolphins could not capitalize.
After both teams were hindered by multiple penalties to close out the half, bringing the game speed down to a crawl, JSerra junior senior back Casey Eugenio broke for a 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that saw him bob, weave and avoid his way to the end zone. The Lions lead never came into doubt from then on.
Junior defensive end Mitchell Deamon returned a Dolphins fumble 42 yards for a score and Robinson would toss a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Zak to close out the scoring for JSerra.
The Lions will travel to play Trabuco Hills on October 4. Dana Hills will host Irvine the same day.
“We did enough to win the game as far as points are concerned. We hung in there defensively enough to keep them from winning the game but we have to improve between now and next week if we’re going to beat Trabuco Hills,” JSerra head coach Jim Hartigan said. “A week ago we had a decent amount of penalties too so we have to clean that up.”
JSerra’s football team believes this is the year its program will have a breakthrough and become a playoff contender in the Trinity League.
The Lions looked like that kind of team at times against Buena Park in a nonleague game on Friday night at Saddleback College, but at other times their sloppy play and penalties allowed the Coyotes to fight their way back into the game.
JSerra running back Casey Eugenio exploded for TD runs of 4, 14 and 40 yards in a 2-minute, 12-second span in the third quarter to bury Buena Park, 52-13. The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
“We’re fighting to be one of the best in the (Trinity) League and all of Orange County,” said Eugenio, who finished with 178 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries.
JSerra, which cracked the county top 10 at No. 9 this week for the first time in school history, looked like a playoff contender when Eugenio scored on a 29-yard run on the Lions first drive of the game.
Dante Pettis blocked a punt and scored on a 3-yard return and then caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Nick Robinson to make it 21-0 with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.
The Lions slowed down in the second, and the Coyotes seized the opportunity to get back into the game with touchdown runs of 2 and 1 yards by county rushing leader Deven Boston to close the gap to 21-13 at the half.
But JSerra’s defense put the clamps on Boston for most of the game, holding him to 57 yards on 13 carries, and Eugenio’s third-quarter eruption finished the Coyotes.
“I think we’re going to be one of the top (teams in the Trinity League),” Eugenio said. “Everyone doubts us and stuff, but I think we’ll be one of the top.”
Lions coach Jim Hartigan said his team has some things to shore up before league play like the 10 penalties for 105 yards against Buena Park.
“We can’t get used to that in the Trinity League,” Hartigan said. “We won’t be able to turn it back on in the Trinity League. We have to make sure that we can maintain these leads and make sure that we play solid on defense, stay consistent and there’s some things we need to talk about.
“We have to clean up our penalties and keep drives alive. You’re not going to be able to play catch-up in the Trinity, so we have some things to clean up in the next couple of weeks.”
For more on the Lions visit JSerra Football on Facebook.
JSerra coach Jim Hartigan said that, on paper, this might be the best team he’s had since he began coaching the Lions.
On Saturday afternoon, they looked pretty good on the field, too.
JSerra dominated Centennial of Nevada in its nonleague season opener, 44-0, at Mission Viejo.
The Lions’ defense stood out with seven sacks and it held Bulldogs running back Lantz Worthington to 36 yards rushing.
“I thought we had good pressure, and I thought we covered, for the most part, pretty well,” Hartigan said. “We were prepared for a lot of pass, so we tried to give a bunch of looks, both zone and pressure.”
It was JSerra’s first shutout since the 2010 season, when it shut out Fullerton, 31-0.
The Lions’ offense and special teams also contributed to the resounding win.
Ethan Aguayo got them on the scoreboard when he blocked a punt for a safety in the first quarter to put them up, 2-0.
The offense followed with a 50-yard touchdown march, which culminated with Dante Pettis hauling in Nick Robinson’s 11-yard pass in the back corner of the end zone.
Casey Eugenio,Conor O’Brien and Aguayo each added a touchdown in the first half, which swelled the Lions’ lead to 30 points.
It was the first game JSerra played with its new look up-tempo offense.
“We’re kind of a run-pass option team, and we had a bunch of backs going in there,” Hartigan said. “We had Pettis catching some balls, too. We want to spread the ball around as much as possible.
“We want to speed the game up a bit. I’m sure there are things we can improve on, but it’s a good start.”
Robinson had a good day leading the offense as he went 9 of 16 passing for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He might have had a few more completions if it wasn’t for a few drops.
His play-fakes also set up some nice runs for his running backs. Eugenio led the way on the ground with 138 yards and two touchdowns.
Pettis left the game in the second quarter due to some heat exhaustion, according to Hartigan.
The Lions have a week off before they take on Huntington Beach at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 at Saddleback College.
For more on the Lions Football season visit them on Facebook.
Scholar athlete and JSerra junior, DJ Bailey takes a time out to talk with JSerra Blog to give us the scoop on the upcoming season and his summer plans.
JSerra Blog (JB): How did you first get interested in football?
DJ Bailey (DJ): I actually ran track for a long time and when I realized that I was a fast sprinter, I decided to try football. Turns out I really enjoy that too and I still have the opportunity to run track and play football.
JB: What has been one memory from playing football that stands out the most to you?
DJ: I don’t know that I can choose just one but I do love running the ball, and sacking our quarterback, Nick Robinson.
JB: What are some of the colleges that you have been looking during the summer months?
DJ: While I’d love to play for Stanford as my dream school, I have also had Notre Dame and UCLA looking at me for football. But and school would be amazing to play for.
Football may be Bailey’s sport of choice but he has also found success in the world of track and field, as part of the CIF competition relay team Bailey. The offensive MVP plans to spend his summer perfecting his skills and competing at the toughest level possible.
JSerra Catholic head football coach Jim Hartigan is a man of perpetual motion.
On a warm, muggy Wednesday morning, he arrives at the school’s athletic campus at 6 a.m. to unlock doors, review schedules and go over the day’s itinerary with his coaching staff.
That’s about as easy as the day gets for him.
In no time, his varsity team begins to trickle into the weight room, some still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. Meanwhile, Hartigan stands at the ready, his eyes trained to spot any player in need of some extra motivation.
As soon as the morning weight training sessions concludes around 9:45 a.m., Hartigan hustles out to a practice field to watch the future crop of Lions football players, the junior varsity and freshmen squads, go through 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 passing drills.
At this time last year, Hartigan’s day would have ended with a post-practice meeting with his staff and an afternoon session with the varsity. But in March, athletic director Dave Lawn retired to pursue full-time coaching opportunities and JSerra placed the interim tag on Hartigan. On June 20, rather than hire an outsider, the school announced Hartigan as its full-time athletic director, in addition to continuing his duties as head football coach.