Even though he is injured, it turns out that Johnny Stanton had one more victory in him.
The quarterback for Santa Margarita Catholic was the center of attention on Thursday during a lunchtime rally in which he was named national player of the month by the National High School Coaches Association.
The award is sponsored by the sports apparel company Greek To Me.
Stanton was one of six athletes from different sports chosen for September. As the national winner, he is one of eight finalists to be named national player of the year for the 2012-13 school year.
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Stanton wore short pants and a brace on his left knee, where a large scar was clearly visible; he had surgery two weeks ago to tear a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
It was under Stanton's guidance that Santa Margarita won the Southern Section Pac-5 and State Division I Bowl championships in 2011, and had won its five nonleague games in 2012.
Coming into the season Santa Margarita No. 1 nationally by Rivals.com, and No. 2 by five other media entities, including Sports Illustrated. The Eagles have been ranked No. 1 by ESPN for the last three weeks.
Stanton missed the Trinity League opener against Servite last week and his role now is one of mentoring his replacements.
Through five games—all victories—Stanton completed 59 of 88 passes for 11 touchdowns with three interceptions; he also rushed 46 times for 386 yards (an 8.2 yards per carry average) with eight touchdowns.
Earlier this season Stanton surpassed former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Carson Palmer as the school's all-time leader in total offense with 5,900 yards.
Before his injury he set nine school records and likely would have surpassed Palmer for most yards passing in a career:
- Most yards rushing by a QB in a game (173, SJB 2011)
- Most yards rushing by QB in a season (1,528, 2011)
- Most yards rushing by a QB in a career (2,137, 2010-12)
- Most 100-yard rushing games by a QB in a season (8, 2011)
- Most 100-yard rushing games by a QB in a career (8, 2010-12)
- Most 100-yard passing games in a season 14 (2011)
- Most yards of Total Offense in a season (3,967, 2011)
- Most yards of Total Offense in a career (5,900, 2010-12)
- Most yards passing by a junior in a season (2,439, 2011)
Among those who spoke at the short ceremony were Principal Ray Dunne, Athletic Director Rich Schaaf, and football coach Harry Welch, who said that in his four decades of coaching no one surpassed Stanton.
Schaaf might have made the most impressive observation, that the large number of faculty, teachers and students—they filled the home side of the gym bleachers and lined the walls—had voluntarily given up their lunch period to watch the Stanton ceremony.
One of those standing along the wall was Jeff Reinert, the new basketball coach who won't have the services of Stanton in the winter. Reinert has coached previously at Nebraska, where Stanton has committed to attend college, and said that the quarterback "will be a rock star" in that community.
Stanton said he was grateful for the support of everyone who came out, but afterward said it's not the awards that drive him.
"It's a nice recognition but it's not what I work for," he said. "We work for wins. I end my season 5-0, but I don't think my season is over. I'm still working with the team."
Santa Margarita (6-0, 1-0 in league) plays host to Trinity League rival Mater Dei (5-1, 1-0) tonight, 7:30 p.m., at Saddleback College.