The challenge for El Toro is to build off the success that Conner Manning, Cody White and the rest of last season’s senior class gave the Chargers. That challenge began Friday at Trabuco Hills where the Chargers played host to a program that has won a Southern Section title in four of the last six years. The last time they played? The 2011 Southwest Division semifinals, a 47-41 victory by El Toro that ended La Habra’s run of championships at four.
Score: La Habra
26, El Toro 3
Key Stats: El Toro quarterback Trey Tinsley, a junior entrusted to fill the shoes of record-breaking quarterback Conner Manning, passed for 168 yards in the first quarter, finished with 273, but threw three interceptions in the first half of his debut.
Pivotal Moment: Trailing 6-3, Trabuco Hills was driving for what could have been a tying or go-ahead score, but a third down interception by Jackson Willard was returned 63 yards to the El Toro 20, setting up a 20-yard scoring pass from Eric Barriere to Christian Casas with 1:01 left in the first half.
Quotable: “You’re going to learn more from a loss than a win," El Toro Coach Rob Frith said. "For (Tinsley), he gets to sit down and watch some film and gets to improve. There’s no way for him to get better if he’s just going out there and throwing dimes against lesser competition. We’re going to throw him to the wolves because that’s where we’re at as far as the program at this point. ... If you're going to be an elite program, you have to play elite teams."
Records: La Habra (1-0), El Toro (0-1)
Notes: La Habra came into the game No. 2 in the Southwest Division rankings, behind Edison. ... Barriere passed for three touchdowns, of 80, 20 and 51 yards. ... If the turnover at the end of the first half was a killer, Barriere’s 80-yard bomb to Edrick Flores was the second-biggest play of the night; it came on the first play after El Toro had missed a 33-yard field goal. … Aaron Ball’s 22-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the first half accounted for the only scoring for the Chargers. … Barriere was an elusive target all night, but the most impressive run of the night may have belonged to defensive end Greg Gaines, a 290-pounder who lined up in the backfield; he carried defenders into the end zone from 16 yards. ... The temperature was 84 degrees at the end of the game, and Frith though his players wore down in the second half. “We had guys puking up and down the sidelines,” he said.
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