A year ago, Tesoro was the darling of the Southern Section Pac-5 playoffs, mostly because the Titans did everyone else's dirty work: They beat Servite and ended the Friars' two-year reign as champion.
But a year later, everyone was scratching their head that Tesoro was even in the playoffs, a third place team from the South Coast League that lost three of its last four games and, in the final week of the season, lost its head coach as well.
The team responded to the dismissal of Brian Barnes with a nonleague victory at Chula Vista, and for a half on Friday it looked like the at-large Titans might ride their refocused emotions even further into the season.
But one half was all Tesoro had in it as third-seeded Bellflower St. John Bosco powered to a 38-17 victory against the visiting Titans.
Bosco (7-4) will play Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (8-3) in the second round. All of Bosco's losses were by forfeit; the Braves self-reported an ineligible player. They went on to win the Trinity League title, their first since 2002.
Under the guidance of interim coach and defensive coordinator John Hall, Tesoro (7-4) needed a second half to match the first. Brett Perry scored on a 14-yard pass from Matt Adam to tie the score with 28 seconds left in the first half, 17-17.
But hopes of an upset unraveled in the third quarter. Bosco, averaging 35 ponts on the season, scored in the opening minutes on Lonell Woodhouse's second of three touchdowns, a 6-yard run, for a 24-17 lead. It became 31-17 when receiver A.J. Holman recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Woodhouse, whose 17-yard reception in the second quarter had given Bosco a 17-10 lead, closed the scoring in the fourth quarter on a 5-yard pass from sophomore Josh Rosen, who passed for 234 yards.
Tesoro never led in the game, but matched Bosco score for score in the first half, with a 40-yard field goal by Zach Schottenfeld with 22 seconds left in the first quarter, a 52-yard run by Nate Tago midway in the second, and then Perry's reception before the half ended.
Tago, the central point in Tesoro's ground-and-pound offense, carried 20 times for 108 yards. Darren Walker led Bosco with 18 carries for 110 yards and a 7-yard touchdown run.
Adam—who rushed for 81 yards—passed for 57 for Tesoro, which lost four of its last five games.