Irvine High School had things its way during the first half Saturday, controlling the ball and containing El Toro quarterback Bret Johnson. However, the Vaqueros could do neither during the final two quarters.
Johnson found his touch midway through the third quarter, completing 7 of his last 8 passes, as the Chargers came back from a 6-0 deficit for a 21-6 victory in a South Coast League football game in front of 2,800 at Irvine High School.
Johnson, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 238 yards, was erratic during the first half, but drove the Chargers 48 yards for a touchdown with 4:36 left in the third quarter. He completed 2 passes for 30 yards on the drive and finished it off by scoring on a 1-yard run. Ken Romaniszyn's conversion gave the Chargers a 7-6 lead.
The Chargers put the game out of reach with a 14-point fourth quarter. Johnson threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Chris McCarthy and tailback Adam Brass ran 14 yards for a score.
Irvine (4-5, 1-3) had managed to hold off the Chargers in the first half, stopping them on fourth and goal at the 3-yard line in the first half and twice intercepting Johnson passes inside the 10.
The Vaqueros drove 73 yards in 11 plays to take a 6-0 lead with 6:16 left in the second quarter. Quarterback Jeff Jones scored the touchdown on a one-yard run.
In a Garden Grove League game:
Rancho Alamitos 22, Kennedy 14--Quarterback Rodney McCall connected with Jason Sweet for two second-half touchdowns as the Vaqueros came from behind at Handel Stadium.
Trailing, 14-6, in the third quarter, McCall hit Sweet for a 35-yard touchdown which tied the score, following a two-point conversion. Rancho Alamitos (6-3, 3-3) went ahead in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard scoring play from McCall to Sweet.
Kennedy (2-6-1, 2-3-1) took a 14-6 first-quarter lead on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Pete Montera to Tom Deep and Ed Williams' five-yard run.
Sean Cheatham, the county's leading rusher and scorer, gave Rancho Alamitos a 6-0 lead with a 26-yard run. Cheatham gained 190 yards in 36 carries.
In an Olympic League game:
Whittier Christian 21, Orange Lutheran 7--Brian Halverson capped Whittier Christian's scoring with a fourth-quarter block of an Orange Lutheran punt, which he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown. Halverson later appeared to sustain a neck injury after an onside kick by Orange Lutheran. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released. Whittier Christian improved its record to 6-3, 3-1. Orange Lutheran is 5-4, 2-2.