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El Toro makes case for at-large berth with shutout of Dana Hills

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

DANA POINT – El Toro closed the regular season with a 63-0 South Coast League victory over Dana Hills on Friday night, a win Coach Mike Mayoral believes should earn the No. 12 Chargers an at-large playoff berth.

“They’ve played pretty well all year long, we’ve been proud of them,” Mayoral said. “They’ve been very, very good. We just hope we get in (the playoffs) and maybe do some damage.”

El Toro (5-5 overall, 1-3 in the league) boasts nonleague wins over No. 13 Corona del Mar, No. 23 Trabuco Hills and Capistrano Valley, and it lost to No. 4 Tesoro and No. 9 San Juan Hills by a combined seven points.

No. 1 Mission Viejo and Tesoro earned the league’s two automatic playoff spots in the CIF-SS West Valley Division. Last year’s third- and fourth-place South Coast teams — El Toro and San Juan Hills — earned the division’s two at-large berths, and that could happen again this year.

“We played in the toughest league in the division, I think that means something,” Mayoral said. “(It means something) when there’s three in the top 10 and two weeks ago all four of us were in the top 10.”

The Chargers outgained the Dolphins, 407-109. They intercepted five Dana Hills passes and scored two special-teams touchdowns: a 60-yard punt return by River Simmons in the second quarter and an 80-yard kickoff return by Shane McLaughlin to open the second half.

Dana Hills running back Eddie Wood rushed 10 times for 43 yards and Ryder Lynch caught three passes for 69 yards.

The Dolphins, with a roster full of underclassmen, finished 0-10 overall and 0-4 in the league.


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