By BRIAN WHITEHEAD
FROM MAX PREPS and OC Varsity:
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PLACENTIA – El Dorado needed to win a series of coin flips to qualify for the playoffs last fall.
This year’s team is doing its best to stay in control of its destiny in another tight Century League race, and a 56-41 victory over Brea Olinda on Friday at Valencia High helped the Golden Hawks’ cause.
El Dorado running back Mark Parsons finished with a season-high 367 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. It was the second game this season in which he scored five or more times.
The 2012 team once controlled its fate, but relinquished it by losing to Brea Olinda, 34-21, in the regular-season finale.
El Dorado, Brea Olinda and Esperanza finished with 3-3 records in the Century League. The Golden Hawks won those coin flips and advanced to the postseason as a nominal automatic qualifier. But El Dorado had a losing record at the time, and bowed out in the first round.
Fast forward to this year, and if El Dorado (3-6, 3-2) defeats Canyon next week, it will nab the Century League’s third and final guaranteed playoff spot. A loss likely will eliminate the Golden Hawks from postseason contention.
Parsons’ seven touchdowns set the school’s single-game record.
The senior captain also tied Laguna Beach’s Nathan Lancaster and three others with the second-most touchdowns scored in a game in Orange County history.
Lancaster scored seven times last week against Calvary Chapel.
Parsons followed Brea Olinda’s opening score with touchdown runs of 2 and 11 yards on consecutive drives. He scored a third time shortly after the Wildcats (2-8, 1-5) pulled even in the second quarter.
Jacob Romero and Billy Hanley then exchanged touchdowns, and El Dorado led, 28-20, at halftime.
Parsons scored four more times – twice from 50 yards or longer – in the second half.
The win was El Dorado’s first in the series since 2010.
Hanley turned 22 carries into 123 rushing yards and four scores for Brea Olinda.
Photos compliments of Denny Koska