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NICK AGRO , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Tesoro senior Carter Jaenichen escapes El Toro defenders during a South Coast league game against El Toro at Tesoro.

Jaenichen rallies Modster-less Tesoro past El Toro

STAFF WRITER

LAS FLORES – Tesoro’s Matt Poston looked as if he could barely stand after the game, the emotional ups-and-downs of the previous 2 1/2 hours noticeably taking their toll on the head coach.

As drained as Poston was, his team was equally as amped, celebrating amidst a sea of students at midfield following a dramatic back-and-forth league clash.

The sixth-ranked Titans dug themselves out of a 21-point first-half hole and later rallied from a late four-point fourth quarter deficit behind quarterback Carter Jaenichen’s 58-yard touchdown pass to Shane Coleman in a wild 31-28 victory over El Toro in the South Coast League opener Friday night at Tesoro High.

POSTGAME TALK: How Tesoro rallied to beat El Toro

“I’m going to remember that game for the rest of my life,” said Jaenichen, who started in relief of the injured Devon Modster. “We came out, played absolutely awful. I told everybody in the locker room to have full confidence because I’m going to lead you back.

“It’s amazing how much heart this team has, and I couldn’t be more proud of my boys.”

Jaenichen finished 13-of-29 passing for 187 yards. He connected with 6-foot-5 wideout Shane Coleman on both touchdown strikes in the fourth quarter, the first grabbing Tesoro’s initial lead and the second recapturing the edge with 1:45 to play.

“He’s a stud,” Poston said of Jaenichen. “He’s an absolute stud of a football player. He’s a receiver, he’s not a quarterback, but we feel like he can lead us. The kids are all 100 percent dialed in at that spot just like they are when Devon’s in there.”

The Titans (6-1, 1-0) trailed 21-0 at the half after an abysmal showing from its offense in the opening 24 minutes. Tesoro’s first six drives of the game resulted in four punts and two turnovers, allowing El Toro’s Dawit Wilson to capitalize with two first half touchdown passes of his own.

“They absolutely hammered us in the first half,” Poston said. “They kicked our butts. And we had to go in and regroup, try to get our focus back and just try to start chipping away.”

That’s exactly what the Titans did, scoring 24 consecutive points over the next quarter and a half. Facing a fourth-and-6 while trailing 21-16, Jaenichen connected with Coleman on a 15-yard fade pass in the back corner of the end zone that gave Tesoro its first lead of the game with 7:03 to play.

The Chargers (4-3, 0-1) reclaimed the lead with 3:12 remaining. JShoun Wolfe’s interception deep in Tesoro territory set up Demarlo Cobbins’ 1-yard touchdown plunge.

It took Jaenichen just five plays to send the crowd into a frenzy. After the senior’s pump fake froze the secondary, he hit Coleman in stride for a 58-yard strike for what proved to be the winning score with 1:45 left.

Contact the writer: kconnolly@ocregister.com


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