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Football: Nate Tago is a one-man show for Tesoro

October 15, 2012 |  6:26 am

_A121046Yes, Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro lost by 10 points in Friday's South Coast League matchup against Lake Forest El Toro, but it sure wasn't because the Titans' brightest star didn't shine.

On the contrary, Nate Tago was like a human highlight reel. He rushed for a career-best 321 yards and four touchdowns in 39 carries, solely accounting for 24 of the Titans' 31 points. Tago gained 77 yards on the Titans' 90-yard opening drive and amassed 240 yards by halftime _ many of the spectacular variety.

Tago scored on runs of 2, 44, 3 and 4 yards, the last putting Tesoro up 31-27 with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter. Twice he hurdled over would-be tacklers to gain extra yardage and he had 13 runs of 12 yards or more. He even saved what looked to be a sure touchdown with a shoe-string tackle following an interception.

Tago's effort Friday eclipsed a 287-yard, three-TD performance versus Dana Hills last year. So far this season, the 6-0, 210-pound senior has rushed for 1,185 yards and 12 TDs in seven games.

Expect Tago to bring his 'A' game again on Friday in a showdown game against unbeaten Mission Viejo at Tesoro. The big question is whether he gets enough help from his supporting cast. Tesoro still has a chance at the postseason, but the El Toro defeat is costly because only two schools from the South Coast League receive automatic berths into the Pac-5 Division playoffs. 

El Toro Coach Rob Frith is thankful his squad doesn't have to face Tago again, calling him maybe the best runner he's seen in his four seasons with the Chargers.

-- Steve Galluzzo

Photo: Tesoro's Nate Tago ran for a career-high 321 yards and four touchdowns in Friday's 41-31 loss to South Coast League rival El Toro at Trabuco Hills. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times