The game: Looked all but over in the first half when El Toro jumped out to a 21-0 lead, so give Tesoro a ton of credit for its resolve and never say die mentality. The Chargers are a quality football team, one of the most underrated squads in Orange County. If they play as well as they did in the first half, Mike Mayoral’s club can beat anyone in the South Coast League. Quarterback Dawit Wilson was a major reason behind the big halftime lead, accounting for 214 total yards of offense and a pair of touchdown passes in the first two quarters alone.
The Titans chipped away after the break. The score was 21-10 headed into the fourth, when Anthony Battista officially made it a ball game with a 10-yard touchdown run with 11:12 to play. Zach Iris picked Wilson off minutes later in El Toro territory, setting up Carter Jaenichen’s 15-yard touchdown pass to his 6-foot-5 receiver, Shane Coleman, on a fade route.
With Tesoro now up, 24-21, madness ensued.
Chargers defensive back JShoun Wolfe intercepted a Jaenichen pass deep in Titan territory with 4:35 to play. Demarlo Cobbins punched in a go-ahead score from one-yard out just over a minute later. But it was the Jaenichen-to-Coleman connection that burned the Chargers once more, as the duo hooked up for the game-winning 58-yard strike with 1:45 on the clock.
Key to the game: Jaenichen’s grit and his short-term memory. The first three quarters didn’t go according to plan for the senior, who happens to be one of the county’s top receivers when he’s not having to sub-in under center. Headed to the fourth, Jaenichen had completed just 10-of-23 pass attempts for 107 yards to go along with an interception. On a fourth-and-six from the 15-yard line, he threw the perfect lob to Coleman in the back corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score. And while he could’ve folded after throwing a crucial interception later in the quarter (and his second of the night), Jaenichen bounced back with a dime that hit Coleman in stride for the game-winning 58-yard score.
Players of the game: Jaenichen and Coleman. The fade pass to the corner of end zone was well executed, but the 58-yard touchdown strike is going to be rewinded and re-watched dozens of times at film breakdown this week. Jaenichen froze El Toro’s secondary with a hard pump fake before delivering a sweet ball to Coleman down the right sideline. And to put together a response like that 90 seconds after giving up the lead? Clutch.
Key stat: El Toro’s first seven drives of the second half resulted in six punts and an interception. After neutralizing Tesoro’s pass rush with quick-hitting pass plays and designed rollouts that got Wilson out in space, the Titans were finally able to generate pressure on the Chargers' dual-threat QB after the intermission. Wilson started the second half 0-for-9 passing. El Toro’s inability to move the chains allowed Tesoro to claw its way back.
They said it: “I called that last play on the sidelines. Coach wanted to give me the head set afterwards. It was crazy.” - Jaenichen on his second TD pass to Coleman. The kid dialed his own number and delivered. Got to respect that.
What it means: We have one of the best game’s of the year on tap next Friday night. Mission Viejo stomped Dana Hills, 77-0, on Friday, setting up a battle between the league’s two 1-0 teams.
By sitting out Devon Modster this week, it also means the Arizona-bound quarterback will be good to go for next week’s showdown.