Laguna Hills tailback Brendan McGraw entered Thursday night’s nonleague game leading Orange County in rushing yardage and scoring. But El Toro quarterback Brian Wilson stole the show.
Wilson completed 16 of 22 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns and ran seven times for 107 yards and scored one touchdown, leading the Chargers to a 31-13 victory before an estimated crowd of 1,500 at Trabuco Hills High.
El Toro has won three of its first four games for the first time in four seasons under Coach Mike Milner. But Wilson said this game was key.
“This was a big measuring-stick game for us,” said Wilson, a 6-foot-1 senior. “We knew Laguna Hills was a good team and Brendan McGraw is a great player. Our offense had to play good and it did. If I have to run, I will.”
McGraw did his part for Laguna Hills (2-2). He carried 20 times for 159 yards, slightly off his average of 183 per game, and caught five passes for 81 yards, including a 34-yard swing pass from sophomore quarterback Cory Pardoe that gave the Hawks a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
But that was their only lead as El Toro came back to drive 80 yards in eight plays, culminated by Wilson’s 24-yard touchdown run. Chad Johnson’s second field goal and Wilson’s nine-yard scoring pass to Josh Tiplady with 32 seconds left in the half gave the Chargers a 19-7 lead.
McGraw, who had an 81-yard touchdown catch-and-run nullified in the second quarter because of a holding penalty, faked and sprinted 62 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the second half to cut the deficit to six.
But the Chargers scored twice more on touchdown receptions by Brian Koupal (eight yards) and Tiplady (31) and the defense forced the Hawks to go three and out on their final four possessions. Jeff Bibler led El Toro with eight tackles.