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JEFF ANTENORE , CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Jeff Manning and the rest of the El Toro defense kept Corona del Mar quarterback Chase Gerbers in check Friday.

Albano notes: El Toro delivers performance it needed

STAFF WRITER

El Toro football coach Mike Mayoral didn’t use words such as desperate or must-win but he still saw the significance of his team’s victory against Corona del Mar.

The Chargers avoided an 0-3 start to open the season – with all three games at home – by defeating the CIF-ranked Sea Kings, 13-7, in one of the eye-catching results Friday.

Corona del Mar (2-1) was ranked fourth in the Southwest Division.

“Huge game for us,” Mayoral said. “The kids came out and they were a lot more focused. They’re a young group … and they didn’t want to be 0-3.”

The Chargers’ Mayoral-led defense paved the way.

Mayoral, in his first season as the replacement for Robert Frith, was the defensive coordinator under Frith and remains in charge of the unit.

On Friday, he earned his first victory as a head coach since 2004 when he guided Schurr of Montebello.

Mayoral said the Chargers mixed their coverage to try to confuse Corona del Mar quarterback Chase Garbers and force him to make tougher throws. The standout junior finished 13 of 27 for 101 yards.

“They like to run a lot of bubble or hitch screens,” Mayoral said of Corona del Mar, which last season beat El Toro, 31-14.

“We wanted to take the high-percentage stuff away from them and make them throw intermediate to long and at certain times, (bring) timely blitzes.”

Outside linebacker A.J. Aguilar recorded two of El Toro’s sacks. The junior finished with 10 tackles.

Mayoral also praised his three-man defensive front of nose tackle Jeff Manning – no relation to former El Toro quarterback Conner Manning – and ends Trevor Dodds and Blake Morentin.

“Defensively, things worked out really well,” he said. “You have to play (well) to beat (Corona del Mar).”

El Toro’s special teams also chipped in. Sophomore receiver Shane McLaughlin recovered the opening kickoff near the Corona del Mar 5-yard line, setting up an early score.

“If it wasn’t for that opening kickoff, who knows what could have happened?” Mayoral said.

El Toro plays Norwalk on Friday and then Trabuco Hills and Capistrano Valley. The Chargers have a chance to get on a roll before opening the South Coast League against Tesoro on Oct. 9.

“They know what they’re capable of doing now,” Mayoral said of his team.

BANGED-UP DIABLOS

Mission Viejo (4-0) extended its winning streak to 16 games – the fourth-longest active streak in the state – by defeating La Habra despite playing without left tackle Zack Aylor (knee) and leading rusher Isaiah Miller (collarbone).

Diablos coach Bob Johnson said Monday that he is unsure of Aylor’s status for Friday’s game against visiting Norco (2-0). Miller won’t play.

“It’s a very good start,” Johnson said. “But we have to get some injured (players) back. We’re banged up. Norco is crazy good.”

Norco features Michigan quarterback commit Victor Viramontes.

The Diablos will honor military veterans at the game.

“It’s an important night for us all the way through,” Johnson said.

NOTES

First-year Pacifica coach Vinnie Lopez has the Mariners off to their first 2-0 start since 2010. Pacifica plays at former league rival Garden Grove (1-1) on Friday. … Tesoro quarterback Devon Modster set a school single-game passing record with 351 yards against Upland.

Contact the writer: dalbano@ocregister.com


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