El Toro's Colin Kentros gets air over the top of San Juan Hills' Cameron Buchanan on Friday at El Toro.

San Juan Hills escapes with victory over El Toro


LAKE FOREST – San Juan Hills football coach Aaron Flowers knew his defense was facing a tough task against El Toro quarterback Dawit Wilson.

Wilson totaled 410 total yards of offense and had his team lined up for a game-winning score late in the fourth quarter.

However, facing fourth down from the Stallions’ 17-yard line, Wilson overshot Colin Kentros in the end zone and San Juan Hills held on through a wild finish for a 40-36 victory in its South Coast League opener Friday at El Toro High.

“He gave me about 12 heart attacks tonight,” Flowers said of Wilson. “When he starts running, I want to cover my eyes and just listen to the crowd. He’s a special player.”

Wilson completed 20 of 35 passes for 373 yards and five scores. He added 37 yards on nine carries and routinely kept plays alive with his legs.

Stallions quarterback Patrick O’Brien was up to the challenge, completing 23 of 28 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He added 115 rushing yards on 18 carries.

“He and the receivers made some plays tonight that are needed to win these games,” Flowers said. “There were a ton of plays made on both sides and we made one more.”

The efficiency of both quarterbacks was needed, as neither team saw much success on the ground. Brock Cazel led all running backs with 29 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. El Toro backs were held to 13 yards on 11 carries.

Neither team held more than a two-touchdown lead. On the opening possession, Stallions’ defensive back Devin Wegis picked off a Wilson pass, setting up Cazel’s first TD and a quick Stallions lead.

San Juan Hills (7-0, 1-0) doubled the lead on an eight-yard TD run by Cole Suchesk.

Wilson responded by finding receiver J’Shoun Wolfe twice for touchdown passes of 18 and 76 yards to tie the score. The teams went into halftime at 21-21.

El Toro (4-4, 0-2) took its first lead of the game early in the third quarter. Wilson hit Kentros for a 48-yard score. The two would later hook up in the fourth quarter on a 52-yard catch and run for a 36-33 lead.

O’Brien would have the final say, throwing for 78 yards on the winning drive, capped by Cazel’s third TD run.

Wegis and Harrison Van Galder caught TD passes for the Stallions.

“They were more efficient than we were, especially down the stretch,” Coach Mike Mayoral said.

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