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El Toro’s season ended at St. Francis high school in LaCanada in their semi final playoff game, one week earlier than the Chargers wanted. But for the Charger faithful the story wasn’t the game with the Knights, it was the ascension of the 2017 team and a deep run in the playoffs that thrilled ET Nation and got El Toro to their first semi final Thanksgiving weekend game since 2011.
A tip of the hat to St. Francis who executed near perfect football Friday night and made the Chargers play from behind for the first time in the playoffs. But even in the loss the Chargers did not go down without a fight. They traded punches with the Knights early, and tried valiantly to overcome some early setbacks, but in the end the Knights pulled away.
To get to this semi final game El Toro had to clear two big hurdles, 9-1 Villa Park, and 11-0 Lompoc. Beating Villa Park at Fred Kelly Stadium in a 50-45 thriller was one to remember with big plays coming fast, and big hits all over the field. But to follow that up with a first ever playoff win at home in new Chargers Stadium over an unbeaten Lompoc team in convincing fashion was truly a topper. The Chargers played so well, and were on point to such a degree against the Braves that the whole thing resembled a video game at times.
And earlier in the season El Toro spoiled Tesoro’s Homecoming game and beat the Titans at their place in a game that made hearts stop and fingernails disappear. That win was the first time a Chargers team had beaten Tesoro in the Matt Poston era, and the first time since 2012.
These are a just a few of the signature team moments that filled the 2017 campaign with incredible memories for all who watched. Many would agree that a $10 ticket for El Toro football was the best value money could buy in OC in 2017!
All of these moments were the result of a team full of great players that persevered, worked hard, stuck together, believed in each other, and loved each other deeply, even in the face of difficulty. Credit to coach Mayoral and his staff, for when a team’s trajectory is so obviously on the rise and it’s improvement so acutely visible throughout a season, it is the result of great coaching.
Congratulations Chargers on an exciting 2017. To play a semi-final playoff high school football game on Thanksgiving weekend is rare and special. Not many get to do it. But we did. And we are all grateful for that.
Orange County defensive player of the week: El Toro’s Raymond Carpenter
By DAN ALBANO |OC Varsity Senior Writer | Orange County Register
November 20, 2017 at 5:26 pm
The Register’s football defensive player of the week for Monday, Nov. 20.
The under-sized, senior nose tackle recorded six sacks, raising his season-total to 19, to help lead the Chargers past third-seeded Lompoc, 37-16, in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs. “He really played well,” El Toro coach Mike Mayoral said of Carpenter (6-0, 200). “He’s having a terrific year.”
El Toro aerial attack too much for Braves in Division 3 quarterfinals
By Lorenzo J. Reyna
Nov 17, 2017
LAKE FOREST — Since the 2013 season, El Toro has reached eight victories on the football field just once.
But the Chargers won their eighth game of the season – while eliminating the Lompoc Braves in the process – in Friday’s 37-16 win in Lake Forest on Friday night in a CIF Southern Section Division 3 second round contest.
El Toro’s upset of the previously unbeaten No. 3 seeded Braves ends Lompoc’s season at 11-1 overall, while also making it the second year in a row that the Braves saw their season end down in Orange County. Lompoc fell to Corona del Mar 35-34 last season in Costa Mesa in the CIF-SS D4 playoffs.
And the Chargers (8-4) went straight to their aerial assault and began picking on a Lompoc defense that was without Toa Taua – who had a walking boot on the sideline and never saw action as he nursed an ankle injury he sustained against Camarillo.
Cooper Jones tossed touchdown passes of 76 and 71 yards and ended the first half with 249 yards. Noah Aguilar and Shane McLaughlin had 126 and 105 receiving yards, respectively, in the first half.
Lompoc did start off with promise in the first quarter. After being forced to punt, El Toro muffed the ensuing return and LHS recovered inside Chargers territory. Lompoc, however, turned the ball over on downs. The Braves also got Jimmy Gardner to block a punt deep in El Toro territory. That play culminated in a 1-yard outside pitch run to Ruben Cortez, tying the game at 7-7.
But Jones went back to his right arm and his fast receivers – connecting with McLaughlin on a 71-yard strike that made it 14-7.
The Braves tried to stay in the game with some trickery – fooling the Chargers on a fake punt reverse to Shemar Savage that gained the first down. Savage then followed with a 41-yard reception before getting hauled down at the El Toro 2-yard line.
But El Toro’s defense – a unit that surrendered 45 points in its 50-45 thriller over Villa Park one week ago – snuffed out the Braves four times inside the 5-yard line to force the turnover on downs.
After the four straight stops, Jones went to McLaughlin again for a 40-yard strike, expanding the lead to 21-7. On the next drive, Lompoc went back to its bag of tricks once again on a double pass. However, Savage’s throw was intercepted by Austin Derrico. His pick led to a 40-yard field goal try to end the half with the Chargers leading 24-7.
On El Toro’s second offensive possession in the third quarter, the Jones-McLaughlin connection went to work again – this time on a 69-yard touchdown pass that brought the lead to 30-7. Lompoc’s Savage would respond on the next drive with a huge reception to the ET 11. But that drive ended with a Jose Silva 26-yard field goal that made it 30-10.
Jones still wasn’t finished. He tossed his fifth touchdown pass to Derrico on a 31-yard connection, placing the Chargers ahead for good 37-10 in the fourth quarter.
Johnny Manzo took a 47-yard run deep to El Toro territory on the next Braves drives. Quarterback Xavier Nix then called his own number and scored on a 13-yard scamper. The extra point try was blocked and the Chargers led 37-16 with 4:41 left.
The 37 points surrendered marked the fifth time the Braves have allowed anything past 30 points since the 2015 season – putting Lompoc at 1-4 in those games. It’s also the first time Lompoc lost by a margin of more than 20 points since the 2014 season, which was the 28-3 playoff loss to Arroyo Grande on the road.
El Toro’s win places the Chargers at La Canada to take on St. Francis on Black Friday. St. Francis defeated Perris Citrus Hill 30-20 on Friday.
Jones, El Toro continue to sizzle in passing game, charge past Lompoc
By NATHANIEL PERCY | firstname.lastname@example.org | Orange County Register
November 17, 2017 at 10:04 pm
LAKE FOREST – Big plays reigned supreme at El Toro High on Friday night, as Chargers quarterback Cooper Jones threw five touchdown passes for a second consecutive game in a 37-16 win over Lompoc in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 3 playoffs.
Receivers Noah Aguilar, Austin Derrico and Shane McLaughlin routinely found space between and beyond the secondary and made it easy for Jones, who finished 13 of 18 passing for 373 yards and five touchdowns.
Derrico and McLaughlin caught two TD passes each and Aguilar caught one. All three had more than 100 yards receiving.
“We were trying to get the short stuff first until they bite on it and then go over the top,” Aguilar said. “We really executed with that.”
El Toro (8-4) moves on to play St. Francis of La Canada on the road in the semifinals next week.
El Toro needed big stops from its defense early on after Derrico fumbled a punt and Matt Freem had a punt blocked, both setting up Lompoc deep in Chargers territory.
The defense allowed just seven points on those two possessions and held Lompoc’s talented rushing attack to just 48 first-half yards. Lompoc was without star running back Toa Taua because of an ankle injury.
“They teach us to stay as low as we can and that disrupts the whole line and gets us penetration,” said lineman Raymond Carpenter, who was in on four sacks and two tackles for loss.
Three plays into El Toro’s first drive, Jones hit Aguilar on a short pass, but Aguilar slipped through a tackle and raced 76 yards for a score.
After Lompoc (11-1) tied it on a Ruben Cortez 1-yard TD run, Jones hit McLaughlin for a 71-yard score on the first play of El Toro’s ensuing drive, the first of 23 unanswered points scored by the Chargers, who led 24-7 at halftime.
Jose Silva kicked a 26-yard field goal and quarterback Xavier Nix added a 13-yard TD run for the Braves in the fourth quarter.
El Toro coach Mike Mayoral gave credit to his coaching staff and the team after the win.
“They’re great kids, I love this group,” he said.
By DAN ARRITT | Orange County Register
November 10, 2017 at 10:28 pm
Jones has TD touch as El Toro tops Villa Park in thrilling playoff opener
ORANGE – Cooper Jones threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first quarter and El Toro held on for a 50-45 victory against Villa Park in a CIF-SS Division 3 first-round game at El Modena High.
The Spartans (9-2) fell behind by 22 points with just under five minutes left in the second quarter, but forced three of El Toro’s five turnovers in the third quarter and cut the deficit to 36-31 on a 1-yard touchdown reception by Dylan Bonilla with 10:46 left in the game.
El Toro (7-4) regained its groove and went 76 yards in three plays and moved back ahead 43-31 on a 43-yard touchdown catch by Shane McLaughlin.
The Chargers then sacked Villa Park quarterback Shane Illingworth on fourth down and tacked on another quick touchdown on a 1-yard run by Steven Castaneda for a 50-31 lead with just under nine minutes left.
Villa Park didn’t quit, however, pulling back within 50-45 with 2:17 remaining. The Spartans sent the ensuing kickoff out of bounds at the Spartans’ 38-yard line. Villa Park tackled El Toro for losses on three straight run plays and used its three timeouts to force El Toro to punt with two minutes left.
The Spartans threw four straight incomplete passes, however, and the Chargers were able to run out the clock.
El Toro will play Lompoc in the second round.
After a 44-yard touchdown run by Marcus Johnson cut the Villa Park deficit to 27-14 with 8:45 left in the first half, El Toro linebacker Raymond Carpenter sacked Illingworth in the end zone for safety, his ninth sack of the season.
John Betts then returned the ensuing punt 72 yards for a touchdown and the lead expanded to 36-14 with 4:59 left in the opening half.
After the Spartans made it 36-21 with 3:06 left, the Chargers missed a couple chances to expand their lead.
Austin Derrico stepped out of bounds at the Villa Park 28-yard line after getting behind the defense on a 52-yard catch, and a 45-yard field goal try by El Toro was then blocked.