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El Toro’s Bus Trouble Turns Into Football Trouble

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

El Toro Coach Mike Milner should have known it was going to be one of those nights. First, a bus left campus 45 minutes late for the Chargers’ nonleague game against Carlsbad in San Diego County. Then the bus broke down on the freeway, stranding the players for another hour.

That is pretty much the way the night went for El Toro. Its defense broke down in the first half, and its offense got rolling a little too late. That all contributed to Carlsbad’s surprising 20-12 victory in front of 2,500.

“We played so horribly in the first half, we didn’t deserve to win,” Milner said. “I don’t want to use it as an excuse, but it hurts when you arrive 15 minutes before on-field warmups.”

Carlsbad rolled to a 20-0 halftime lead behind a strong passing game that took El Toro (1-1) by surprise, and took advantage of several key mistakes by the Chargers.

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El Toro’s first-half errors included a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown and a fumbled kickoff return that accounted for Carlsbad’s final points.

“We didn’t anticipate them passing the ball as much as they did,” Milner said.

Carlsbad quarterback Brian Byrne completed 20 of 27 passes--including 10 of his first 11--for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

That was nearly as much offense as El Toro could manage as a team. Bill McFadden was 11 of 20 for 161 yards and Jeff Brizic had only 52 yards rushing on 13 carries.

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El Toro rallied in the second half, scoring on a 29-yard pass from McFadden to Jason Bailey with 41 seconds left in the third quarter. The extra point was blocked. Brizic scored on a four-yard sweep to the left with 4:39 remaining to cut the lead to 20-12. McFadden was sacked on the two-point conversion try.


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