By Martin Henderson
The magic of Matt Poston's first season as coach at Tesoro vanished on Thursday. The host Titans didn't look like the same team that beat favored La Mirada in the opener and came back from a 20-7 halftime deficit to beat Moreno Valley Rancho Verde last week.
But Tesoro did get a taste of what the playoffs will be like; Chino Hills ranked, seventh in the Southern Section Inland Division, came into the game on the heels of a 47-42 loss to La Puente Bishop, which is ranked No. 4 in the Pac-5 Division, one spot behind Tesoro's South Coast League rival, Mission Viejo.
Score: Chino Hills 30, Tesoro 17
Key Stats: Daniel Martinez of Chino Hills completed 14 of 18 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.
Pivotal Moment: Having fallen behind, 17-16, just 33 seconds into the fourth quarter, Chino Hills was facing a second-and-14 situation from its 26-yard line. Martinez threw a screen pass to Brysen Charbonier. The play went for 40 yards, to the Tesoro 34. Four plays later, the Huskies were in the end zone on Charbonier’s 10-yard run. After a nifty two-point conversion—Martinez breaking free from tackler to pass to Trent Goens—Chino Hills back in control, 24-17, and never threatened by the Titans.
Quotable: “Sometimes we look really good, sometimes we don’t. Tonight we didn’t,” said Matt Poston, first-year coach of Tesoro. “They out-physicaled us tonight. They won the line at the point of attack. They were hitting, tackling and blocking and that’s what football is about. You could say it’s a little step back because you play to win, but that’s what the preseason is for, to play good physical football teams like that, and this is the type of game that’s going to help us when we get to league. They definitely can (hit). We played two physical teams before, but these guys definitely brought it tonight, there’s no doubt. This is going to make us better, that’s what we have to focus on.”
Records: Chino Hills (2-1), Tesoro (2-1)
Notes: Jon Rivera, who missed the second half of Tesoro’s impressive 35-20 victory a week earlier over Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, was back in the lineup, but he was limited to 23 yards on 15 carries. …. Sophomore quarterback Devon Modster rushed for 59 yards and a 1-yard touchdown and passed for 162, including a TD of 21 yards to Jake Smeltzer with 11:27 remaining. … Smeltzer’s score came on a fade in which he made a great catch in the back of the end zone. … In addition to the big 40-yard screen, Tesoro’s defense surrendered a 46-yard score as Chazz Eldridge caught a pass in stride over the outstretched arms of Tesoro defender Tristan Kafentzis, but the point-after was blocked by Matt Sylvester. Chino Hills led, 16-10. … Had things turned out differently for Tesoro and the Titans would have hung on in the fourth quarter—Chino Hills went 58 yards and scored on a 16-yard pass to Michael Tolosa with 2:11 remaining—they likely would have pointed to a goal-line stand midway through the third quarter as the pivotal moment in the game. … Chino Hills was more physical than Tesoro. … Tesoro next plays at Ontario Colony on Sept. 20. … Chino Hills plays host to West Covina.