Forget all the flash and glitz, the big plays and the gala offensive shows. El Toro won its Southern Section Division V championship with sweat.
The Chargers, who topped 35 points seven times this season, handed their hopes over to their defense Friday and it didn't disappoint in a 27-17 victory over Servite before a crowd of 10,000 at the Santa Ana Bowl.
Four times the Charger defense was asked to protect a seven-point lead in the second half and each time it did so.
"They scored some points, but it was by luck," linebacker Damian de Beaubien said. "We knew we had to stop it. That's all we had to do."
It sounds easy, but it wasn't.
A 32-yard field goal by Chad Johnson gave the Chargers a 24-17 lead with 2:52 to play in the third quarter. The Charger defense then went into its smothering act.
Jeremy Jarrett stopped one series by wrestling Servite receiver Brian Brennan to the ground a yard short of a first down.
Grady Fike ended the next series with an interception.
Servite (11-3) got to the El Toro 27-yard line with less than eight minutes left. On first down, Vince Reed swept right, then pulled up for a halfback pass. He found nose tackle Tony Grammatico in his face. Reed's floating pass was intercepted by Brent Chipperfield at the two.
In all, the Chargers (12-2) forced four turnovers.
"Our defense played very spectacular," Coach Mike Milner said. "We preached all week about making the big plays. We don't get many turnovers. Tonight we got four."