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Sage no match for Mission Prep

High School Football

Tolver accuses visiting Royals of running up score, after shorthanded Lightning are blanked at home to drop to 0-4.

September 14, 2012|By Matt Szabo

NEWPORT COAST — On Friday night, the Sage Hill School football team played what Coach J.R. Tolver called perhaps its best opponent in his four-year tenure with the Lightning.

During the game against Mission Prep of San Luis Obispo, Tolver got perhaps the most outwardly upset he has been during that tenure.

The Lightning, missing their top two quarterbacks, were shut out by the Royals, 52-0. It was their most lopsided loss since losing to rival St. Margaret's, 70-0, in 2009.

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But Tolver had more of an issue with the way things transpired in the second quarter of the nonleague game at Sage Hill.

Mission Prep (4-0), the No. 2-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Northeast Division, continued passing the ball in the second quarter as it piled on the points. Tolver appeared to begin shouting across the field to the Royals coaching staff after senior quarterback Tyler Baty completed his fourth touchdown pass of the night, to Evan Talbert with 3:47 left before halftime.

That made the score 44-0, Mission Prep. At halftime Tolver had to be restrained by a couple of his assistant coaches, again very upset as he waited for the Mission Prep coaching staff to walk off the field.

"As a coach, I'm going to do everything I can to make sure the opponent that I'm playing walks off the field with their dignity," Tolver said after the game. "I felt like, 35-0 in the second quarter and we hadn't even gotten a first down at that point, there's no reason to drop back and throw a pass. There's no reason. Run the ball, make us tackle you. If we don't tackle you, that's great.

"There's no reason to drop back and throw the ball. I felt like it's just rubbing salt in an open wound. It's uncalled for. These kids are 14, 15, 16, 17 years old. They're not getting paid to play. They're not on scholarship. They're out here for character development and for good memories in their future. As a coach, you have to keep it in mind ... and that was my issue. If I didn't say anything, I don't know if they would have came out in the second half and still threw the ball. It has nothing to do with the score. It has everything to do with the fact that I love my kids and it was my job, as the leader and the head of this team, to protect them. That was what my intention was, to protect my kids from being humiliated in a situation that they didn't have to be humiliated in."

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