Irvine's Dry Spell Against El Toro Finally Ends

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Irvine High School's football team ended a seven-year drought against El Toro Saturday night, defeating the Chargers, 19-10, and staying in the chase for the South Coast League title.

Scott Seal ran for 157 yards and a touchdown as the Vaqueros (6-2, 2-1) beat El Toro (3-5, 1-2) for the first time since 1983.

Irvine and Dana Hills are one game behind league leader Capistrano Valley. Irvine and Capistrano Valley meet in the season finale in two weeks.

But Irvine Coach Terry Henigan wasn't talking about a league championship yet. He was just glad to beat El Toro.

"It has been a long, long time," he said. "El Toro's a great program and I have a lot of respect for them. I think I stole half of what I know from (Charger) Coach Mike Milner."

Irvine certainly had El Toro's offense figured out in the second half.

The Vaqueros held the Chargers to 25 yards total offense on 20 second-half plays. Irvine outgained El Toro, 345 yards to 118, for the game. The Vaqueros sacked Charger quarterback Bill McFadden four times for minus 19 yards.

"Our defense played great," Henigan said. "Our kids will hit you."

The Vaqueros broke a 10-10 halftime score with a five-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jason Minici with 1:35 left in the third quarter. A bad snap stopped Irvine's extra-point kick, leaving the Vaqueros with a 16-10 lead.

Dave Bilek added a 30-yard field goal with 7:34 left in the fourth quarter, pushing Irvine's lead to 19-10.

Minici completed 10 of 17 passes for 157 yards. His favorite target was wide receiver Jon Peck, who caught seven passes for 132 yards.

Seal gave Irvine a 7-0 lead on a 53-yard touchdown run with 9:08 left in the first quarter. El Toro's Pat McAdam returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to the Irvine 14-yard line, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Brian Verkler that tied it, 7-7.

El Toro took the lead on a 25-yard field goal by McFadden, but Irvine tied it, 10-10, on a 22-yard field goal by Bilek with 1:49 remaining in the second quarter.

After the game, Henigan was asked if the victory kept Irvine in the playoff picture.

"With our league, who knows?" Henigan said. "Check with me in two weeks."

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