El Toro rally foils Hawks' big night
By CARLOS ARIAS
Laguna Hills has been around for three decades and had never played a varsity football game on its campus until Friday night.
The Hawks (2-1) had a huge crowd for the first time in its state-of-the-art stadium, complete with brand new Field Turf.
But El Toro (2-1) spoiled the festivities with a rousing comeback, battling back from a 14-point deficit with 17 consecutive points in the final quarter to pull out a 31-28 nonleague victory.
"We talked about heart and desire in the locker room at halftime," Chargers coach Jake Haley said.
Laguna Hills broke a 14-14 tie with two touchdowns in the third quarter. Sean Gordon sacked El Toro quarterback Sean Kelly to force a fumble. Amir Saghafi scooped it up and scampered the 30 yards for a touchdown.
Laguna Hills took advantage of great field position to put together a 7-play, 47-yard scoring drive. Ryan Wertenberger connected with A.J. Martin on a 15-yard scoring pass to give the Hawks a 14-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.
El Toro responded with a 6-play, 55-yard scoring drive. Andrew Wellman scored on an 18-yard run to cap the drive 24 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Senior linebacker Austin Hardy picked off a Wertenberger pass to give the Chargers the ball at Laguna Hills' 30-yard line. Six plays later, Aaron Grey scored on a 3-yard run with the tying score.
Hardy got another interception to give the Chargers the ball at Laguna Hills' 28-yard line. That set up Vince D'Amato's 24-yard field goal for a 31-28 Chargers' lead with 1:35 remaining.
Laguna Hills moved down the field with Wertenberger connecting on a 39-yard pass to Robert Refsnyder to get into field goal range, but Richie Hogan's 34-yard attempt was wide left as time expired.
El Toro completed only one pass, but the rushing attack led the way. Jai Morris had 167 yards, including one touchdown, on 21 carries