Football: La Habra vs. El Toro
The Highlanders faced a tough challenge Friday night, dropping the season opener to El Toro 51-35 at home.
The Highlanders started the game strong on defense, forcing El Toro to kick a 26-yard field goal with 11 minutes left in the first quarter.
Down by 3, the Highlanders made their way down the field as they attempted to gain the lead. With a little over nine minutes left in the first quarter, quarterback Eric Barriere threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Carlos Martin. The PAT was good and La Habra took a 7-3 lead.
With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, Barriere juked defenders on a critical third down play and ran up the sideline for the first down. On the next play Barriere completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Fellows. The PAT was missed and La Habra pulled ahead 13-3.
La Habra’s kickoff was returned to their own 43 by El Toro’s Kaleb Fossum. On the first play of the drive, Trey Tinsley threw to Brendan Lane who completed the 43-yard touchdown play. The Chargers’ point after attempt was blocked and La Habra led 13-9.
With 14 seconds left in the quarter, El Toro regained the lead, 16-13, after a 66-yard touchdown run by Marcus DeSantis.
Shortly after La Habra regained possession, El Toro’s Tony Mercado was ejected for intentional helmet to helmet contact. The Highlanders scored on the last play of the quarter on a 38-yard run from Barriere.
La Habra led 19-16 going into the second quarter.
It was all Chargers in the second quarter. El Toro scored twice as the Highlanders were unable to put points on the board. El Toro jumped out to a 30-19 lead going into halftime.
The start of the second half brought trouble to the Highlanders as they fumbled the kickoff allowing El Toro to recover the ball.
The Chargers quickly scored and advanced their lead to 37-19.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, La Habra’s Martin ran the ball through defenders on first and goal for the touchdown. The Highlanders went for the two-point conversion and Martin ran the ball in again to make it a 10-point game.
El Toro answered back with a 55-yard touchdown run from DeSantis, advancing their lead, 44-27, over La Habra.
With a little over four minutes in the third quarter, La Habra’s Garcia returned the Charger’s kickoff with a 95-yard touchdown run. La Habra went for the two-point conversion and Martin ran the ball in to make it a nine-point game.
El Toro led 44-35, going into the fourth quarter.
“They’re a good football team,” said La Habra Head Coach Frank Mazzotta. “We gave up the fumble on the opening kickoff in the second half and the touchdown right before halftime and that makes a difference in a football game. You can’t do that stuff and we need to learn those lessons. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way.”
The Chargers scored the final points of the game early in the fourth quarter and sealing the lead at 51-35.
The heat affected both teams toward the end of the game as multiple players went down with leg cramps.
“I thought the kids played hard and that’s ultimately it,” Mazzotta said.
La Habra will be on the road next Friday as they take on South Hills in West Covina.