Showdown At San Juan Hills, Chargers Freshmen Win A Comeback Thriller And Ride Off Into To The Sunset…
The El Toro Freshmen Chargers and the San Juan Hills Stallions met on Wednesday afternoon for the final game of the Freshmen season and for what would turn out to be a great come back victory for the Freshmen Chargers. The game started off with back and forth touchdown drives by each team and an El Toro Touchdown run by #23 Adrian Mendoza. Mendoza setup the Chargers first touchdown with some hard runs to get the offense into the red zone. The rest of the first half turned in a few drives for the Chargers offense that did not result any points and the defense allowing the Stallions to score three more times to make the halftime score 28-6 Stallions.
The Chargers took the half time to get focused and get fired up to play their last 24 minutes of the season. Coach Tisdale and the coaching staff deciding to make some changes on defense during half-time, and the change sparked by #1 Dylan Reynolds seeing the defensive side of the field for the first time this season. The defense began to wreak havoc on the Stallions offense, On the first defensive series of the second half Reynolds forced a fumble and recovered it giving the ball to the Chargers offense for the first time in the second half to begin their comeback. #12 Stephen Gutierrez led the offense down the field with a big completion to #81 Brent McClellan and another one to #21 Jaden Bates but were unable to punch it in and turned it over on downs. The offense showed it was ready and starting to put things together and make some big plays.
The Chargers defense fired up continued to give the Stallions trouble with Reynolds forcing another fumble and recovering it on the Stallions 45-yard line. Gutierrez behind the protection of his Chargers offensive line#75 Collin Duval, #76 Brendon Gardner, #56 Nathan Hollenbaugh and #78 Jamison Zonaga took advantage of the turn-over this time and hit #25 Bryce Miller for a 20-yard gain which setup a TD run on the next play by #10 Adam Vilte following his downfield blocking by #25 Miller and #32 Timothy Brenner. Gutierrez finished the drive off with a run to score the 2-Point conversion making the score 28-14. Chargers defense took the field again after the kickoff and didn’t let up, Chargers defense made several tackles for a loss with Reynolds and #42 Ryan Cote living in the Stallions backfield, Reynolds forced another fumble and he recovered the ball on the Stallions 34-yard line. Gutierrez and the Charger offense wasted no time taking advantage, as Gutierrez hit #28 Josh Peters on a go route for a huge Chargers TD and capped it off when Adam Vilte hit the extra point making the score 28-21.
Raul Franco #19 on the ensuing kickoff pinned the Stallions deep, putting the Chargers defense in great position. The defense still fired up made 3 more tackles for a loss forcing the Stallions to punt from their end zone, the defense feeling it go all out on the punt block and Reynolds getting into the air blocked the punt and gave the Chargers offense the ball on the 9-yard line. Gutierrez and the offense take over and on the first play, Gutierrez rolls to the right and ran it in for the touchdown, Gutierrez hit #81 Brent McClellan over the middle for a two-point conversion to take the lead at 29-28 with about 9 minutes left in the game.
The Chargers defense still having their way with the Stallions offense, Reynolds forces another fumble that was recovered by #34 Caleb Johnson, however the Stallions were not going away quietly put together a defensive stand and forced the Chargers to punt after the turnover. The Stallions than put together a drive of their own to score, however the Charger defense stood tall and prevented the two-point conversion making the score 34-29 Stallions.
1:53 seconds left in the game, after the kickoff by the Stallions the Chargers offense took over and marched it down the field 75 yards with some great runs by #5 Niiko Antoniou, #10 Adam Vilte and #22 Dimitri Kupauloff getting the Chargers into the red zone, Gutierrez rolling to his right saw an opening and took off to the end zone making a diving play to the pylon to score in epic fashion and take the lead back. Gutierrez hit Dimitri Kupauloff in the end zone for anther two-point conversion to make it a 3-point game and the score 37-34 Chargers with 12 seconds left in the game.
The Stallions still not going away on the kickoff had a seam and had a great run back, however #19 Raul Franco made a crushing game saving tackle on the far sideline to prevent them from scoring. The Chargers Defense stood strong and knocked down the game winning pass attempt as time ran out. The Chargers ran off into the sunset with an epic comeback win and celebration, it was a great effort by the entire team and so many players on the day making big plays, showing a lot of heart and fighting all the way back from a 28-6 halftime score. It was a game that will be remembered by all the Coaches, Players and the parents/fans that witnessed it first hand. What a way to end the season Chargers…