Tesoro 32 - Eagles 21

Tesoro wins a thrilling 'Rumble at the Ranch'

LAS FLORES, CA., September 10, 2010 – Tesoro senior defensive back Andrew Facon found himself in the right place at the right time, and 51 yards later, his next stop was the end zone.

With the Titans trailing by five in the third quarter, Facon alertly scooped up a fumble and proceeded to race toward the end zone to score the eventual game-clinching touchdown in a 32-21 non-league home victory for Tesoro (2-0) over Santa Margarita.

“I was covering my man and I saw the running back and the ball just came out,” Facon said. “The receiver wasn’t looking, so I jumped right in front of it and it bounced right to me and I took it to the house.”

Tesoro coach Brian Barnes called Facon’s play the “game changer.”

“There are two or three plays in a game that are the difference,” Barnes said. “We keep referring to our CIF title game against (Long Beach) Poly, three years ago. There were three plays that were the difference in that game from us winning or losing. We were lucky enough (tonight) to make a couple of those plays. The second half, it seemed everything went right.”

The meeting was the first between the neighboring schools that are separated by approximately five miles and are in the same zip code.

Tesoro added to the atmosphere by bringing out their red jerseys, the first time that the Titans have worn them since before Brian Barnes took over as coach.

All of that, seemingly led to Tesoro’s opening struggles.

“I think we came out with so much emotion that I think we were kind of psyched themselves out of playing,” Barnes said. “As the game went along, they slowed down and started playing the football that we’ve been taught to play.”

“I was proud of the way our kids battled. They fought all game long. This was a great win. Great win for our whole community.”

The Santa Margarita half of the "Rumble at the Ranch" had the joyous feeling through the first half and into the third quarter. The Eagles led 14-0 early in the second quarter and after Cory Thomson’s 99-yard kickoff return to start the third, the Eagles were sitting on top, 21-7.

Then momentum started the swing and Santa Margarita contributed to it mightily. The Eagles turned the ball over five times after their first two possessions. A fact that coach Harry Welch struggled with after the game.

“We made some incredibly costly turnovers,” Welch said. “They’re (Tesoro) a good team and they took advantage of them. I thought Tesoro battled hard and well and we didn’t execute the way we need to.”

“What happened tonight, all things in balance, should have happened. If we were able to do what my teams usually do, to execute somewhat closer to flawless, then I’m probably feeling a little bit different.”

Nate Tago scored the third of his four touchdowns, a 4-yard run in the third to cut the deficit to 21-19, setting the stage for Facon’s score with 4:12 remaining.

Later in the fourth, the turnover bug bit Santa Margarita again when the Eagles fumbled a punt inside the Tesoro 10. Two plays, later Tago scored from 1-yard to cap the scoring.

Tesoro 0 7 19 6 32
Santa Margarita 7 7 7 0 21

SM – Higgins 15 passs from Young (McGrory kick)
SM – Young 1 run (McGrory kick)
TES – Tago 3 run (Schottenfeld kick)
SM – Thomson 99 kickoff return (McGrory kick)
TES – Tago 4 run (Schottenfeld kick)
TES – Tago 1 run (Schottenfeld kick)
TES – Facon 51 fumble return (Schottenfeld kick)
TES – Tago 5 run (Schottenfeld kick)

Rushing: SM - Thomson 10-48, Young 12-17; TES - Tago 17-93, Adam 17-68
Passing: SM - Young 14-16-1-138; TES - Adam 10-23-2-110
Receiving: SM - Sweet 5-35, Higgins 4-69; TES - Tago 2-27, Woolbright 4-35

By Damian Calhoun
Friday, September 10, 2010
The Orange County Register