Trailing by three points with 10 minutes to go against El Toro on Oct. 16, San Juan Hills senior quarterback Patrick O’Brien and his receiving corps went to work.
The Stallions had been effective through the air all night against the Chargers and when it mattered most, San Juan Hills put together a decisive 14-play, 84-yard scoring drive to secure a 40-36 South Coast League victory on the road.
During the pivotal drive, which ate up roughly six minutes off the clock, O’Brien completed four of five pass attempts for 78 yards to put the Stallions (7-0, 1-0 league) down at the one-yard line. Brock Cazel capped off the winning drive with a one-yard touchdown burst.
El Toro (4-4, 0-2), led by junior quarterback Dawit Wilson, drove downfield with four minutes left but turned the ball over on downs when Wilson sent a fourth-down pass attempt from the Stallions 17-yard line sailing into the end zone
The aerial attack was a consistent theme of the night for both teams and finding yards on the ground in the first half was hard to do.
The San Juan Hills running backs carried the ball 10 times for three yards in the opening 24 minutes and the Chargers’ backs ran for six yards on eight carries. With both defensive fronts not allowing much, O’Brien and Wilson put on a show.
Wilson threw for 373 yards and four touchdown passes on the night, his longest coming on a 76-yard strike to senior JShoun Wolfe, which tied the game at 14-14 in the second quarter. O’Brien hit senior Harrison Van Galder up the seam for a 34-yard touchdown pass seven minutes later to re-take the lead.
O’Brien finished completed 24-29 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns. The Nebraska-bound senior completed 13 of 14 passes for 154 yards and threw both of his touchdowns in the second half.
“Patrick was who he is every game. He played great,” San Juan Hills head coach Aaron Flowers said. “He and the receivers made some plays tonight that you have to make to win these games. And I think our offensive line found themselves in the second half, which was probably the key to the game.”
Stallions senior linebacker Tim Newman blocked a Chargers punt deep in the home team’s territory midway through the third quarter, but O’Brien fumbled a snap three plays later and El Toro recovered.
Cazel scored the second of his three rushing touchdowns just before the end of the third quarter to put San Juan Hills up 33-28.
Wilson threw a pass up the middle to Colin Kentros on the Chargers next drive, and the senior wide out spun out of a tackle and up field for a 52 yard score. Kentros had a game-high seven catches for 165 yards.
San Juan Hills will host reigning league champion Mission Viejo on Oct. 23.