EL TORO SHOWS FIGHT - 7 Lead Changes and Physical Play Mark the Game
La Habra finishes strong to beat El Toro
August 26, 2016 11:28 PM
By DAN ALBANO
OC VARSITY STAFF WRITER
The Highlanders rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting El Toro, 42-34, in a back-and-fourth season-opening game for both teams.
El Toro led, 26-24, early in the fourth but the Highlanders – known for their dramatic Hail Mary passes last season en route to the CIF-SS Southwest title – scored three consecutive touchdowns in a span of about 21/2 minutes to hold off El Toro.
In a game with seven lead changes, La Habra scored the go-ahead points on a 49-yard yard touchdown catch by Pervis Henderson with 8:28 left in the fourth.
Henderson cut in front of his defender to catch a high-arching, deep pass from quarterback Zach Fogel to give the Highlanders a 30-26 lead.
Moments later, La Habra linebacker Marcus Carrasco returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown and 36-26 advantage.
La Habra’s Adalberto Gutierrez recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff – the Highlanders’ second recovery on a kickoff – and running Eli Anderson capitalized with a 6-yard TD run with 5:54 left as La Habra led, 42-26.
El Toro quarterback Cooper Jones tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Austin Derrico with 4:19 left, but La Habra forced a late fumble at the Chargers’ 10 to seal the victory.
La Habra’s hard-hitting defense, led by safety Madison Wheeler, forced five turnovers, including an interception by the senior. The Highlanders, however, were twice called for striking the head on big hits, had one player ejected and racked up the penalty yards.
Anderson rushed for 124 yards and four TDs while Henderson also added an 80-yard TD catch in the second half.
Jones, a junior, passed for 324 yards and three TDs, working well with Derrico, Noah Aguilar and Shane McLaughlin.
El Toro led at halftime, 16-12, behind three field goals by Matt Freem and an efficient Jones.
Jones led the Chargers to scores on four of their five possessions. Freem kicked field goals of 25, 23 and 33 yards.
El Toro took a 13-12 lead early in the second quarter on Jones’ 14-yard touchdown pass on a short slant to Derrico and an extra-point by Freem.
Jones completed 15 of 24 passes for 195 yards in the first half