By Martin Henderson
This season has been nothing but black and white for Tesoro. They are good, and they are bad, and putting a full game together has so far eluded the Titans. But to their credit, they have been more good than bad, and that’s what carried them to a Homecoming victory before a capacity crowd on Friday against Trabuco Hills.
Overcoming a 13-point deficit in the second half, the upset puts Tesoro, ranked No. 9 in Orange County, in the driver’s seat for one of two automatic playoff berths, having head-to-head advantage over No. 7 Trabuco Hills.
Score: Tesoro 37, Trabuco Hills 34
Key Stats: Not including the snap that went out the back of the end zone for a safety, Trabuco Hills committed four fumbles—losing one—and two interceptions. Quarterback Tommy Kelley was sacked at least six times as the Mustangs frittered away a 27-14 lead.
Pivotal Moment: In the final minute of the third quarter, Tesoro’s
Jacob Griffith intercepted a Tommy Kelley pass and returned it 15 yards to the
Trabuco 38. With a short field and trailing, 27-21, Tesoro faced third-and-10
at the 28; Devon Modster hit Matt Adams down the middle for a 27-yard gain to
set up Michael MacKesy’s 1-yard TD run. It was Adams’ only touch of the night,
and it was crucial as Tesoro took a 28-27 lead—its first of the game—with 9:13
remaining. Without Adams catch (see video), it might have turned out
Quotable: “We don’t do anything easy, for whatever reason,” Tesoro coach Matt Poston said. “We always make it hard on ourselves… It always seems we’re in this type of game. … Any way it happened, we were going to be happy to get a win tonight.”
Records: Tesoro (5-1 overall, 1-0 in South Coast League), Trabuco Hills (4-3, 0-1)
Notes: After getting the 28-27 lead, Tesoro's defense force a punt at the Trabuco 23. The snap went out the back of the end zone for a safety, giving Tesoro a 30-27 lead and all the momentum. … After the free kick, they drove 52 yards in 12 plays with Modster scoring from the 2-yard line for a 37-27 lead with 2:57 left in the game. … It looked like the contest was over but Noah Thompson returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards to make it 37-34. … Tesoro recovered the onside kick at its 47. … A 14-yard punt gave Trabuco the ball at its 43 with 1:38 remaining, but Matt Buoncristiani intercepted a deflected pass off Jake Breeland with 32 seconds remaining to finally seal the victory for Tesoro. …
This is the fourth game that Tesoro has had a Jekyll and Hyde performance. The Titans trailed Moreno Valley Rancho Verde 20-7 and won, 35-20; they led Ontario Colony 42-12 in the fourth quarter and won 42-34; they led Temecula Chaparral 14-0, trailed 21-14 late in the fourth, and won in overtime, 24-21. … Trabuco Hills ran only 14 plays in the second half. The Mustangs didn’t have a drive longer than four plays. … Tesoro's Modster completed 15 of 21 passes for 145 yards and two interceptions, and carried 12 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. ... Jon Rivera carried 32 times for 101 yards for the Titans with touchdowns from 4 and 8 yards. ... Kelley was 10 of 19 for 127 yards with two interceptions and a 26-yard touchdown to Breeland to go ahead, 27-14 (the PAT was missed). ... Kelley carried 17 times for 27 yards, including a 12-yard score to end a crisp scoring drive to open the game. ... Trabuco Hills gained only 102 yards on the ground; Jordan Hettinger carried six for 44 yards, but half came on a scoring run that gave the Mustangs a 21-7 lead. He also scored from 6 yards to make it 14-7. ... In addition to Rivera, Tesoro got 1-yard scoring runs from Brady Davis and Michael MacKesy. ... This is the third loss in a row for Trabuco Hills after it opened the season with four wins for the first time since 1992. … All three losses are to teams ranked in the Orange County Top 10, including Santa Margarita Catholic and JSerra. … Trabuco has a bye next week before playing El Toro (4-3, 1-0). … Tesoro plays host to El Toro next week.