Friday football: Owls end Broncos’ win streak

Laguna Blanca hands Coast Union its first loss of the season, a 50-48 setback

Special to The CambrianOctober 2, 2013 

Broncos Lane Sutherland (25) and Michel Gonzalez (3) close in on Owls quarterback Stephen McCaffery for a tackle in Friday night’s 50-48 squeaker, won by Laguna Blanca. Sutherland also starred on offense, with 243 yards rushing.

MERLE BASSETT

A few short years from now, NFL fans may well be viewing ESPN video highlights featuring a magnificently gifted rookie quarterback named Stephen McCaffery.

Bronco fans in attendance for Coast Union’s 50-48 home defeat at the hands of the Laguna Blanca Owls on Friday night certainly witnessed enough of McCaffery’s skills, speed and aggressive toughness to believe the junior might have a future in big-time football.

Notwithstanding McCaffery’s efforts, attendees clearly saw that the Broncos could just as easily have won this contest. Indeed, Coast Union was twice in excellent position to score and defeat the Owls — but three fumbles put an end to the Broncos’ hopes.

“We turned the ball over twice inside their 5-yard line,” head coach Charlie Casale said. “We should have won the game.”

Casale is aware that the Bronco ball carriers didn’t just let loose with the pigskin — that in fact Owl defenders ripped the ball out of the Coast players’ arms.

“That’s what they do. The team works at that,” Casale said. “They practice that.”

The Broncos had at least 10 missed tackles, and Casale said the team needs to work on protecting the ball, and on tightening up the defense.

The Owls defense ended the Broncos’ chances late in the game. With just a couple of minutes left, the Broncos had stopped Laguna Blanca and were marching downfield toward a possible winning score when once again, an Owl defender yanked the ball from a Bronco ball carrier. The visitors recovered the fumble and ran the clock out.

“We had a lot of momentum going at that time, and it was a very, very disappointing loss,” Casale continued, noting that he is pointing to next week’s game at Dunn School in Los Olivos.

Still, Friday’s game had plenty of high points. Coast Union picked up 629 total yards, and Bronco quarterback Angel Avina made plenty of nifty plays. He used creative, split-second evasive moves and sheer power to pick up 228 yards on 25 carries. Through the air, he completed 10 of 18 passes for 191 yards with one interception.

Meanwhile, Lane Sutherland had another terrific game, rushing for 243 yards on 20 carries. That’s an average of more than 12 yards a carry; Sutherland scored one touchdown and made five tackles. Chuy Nunez made four tackles for Coast Union.

Oscar Catalan boomed six kickoffs past the end zone and put his foot into two punts for 70 yards; he also kicked four extra points. Michel Gonzales and Danny Rodriguez each had three tackles, and Alex De Alba chipped in with two. Next, the 3-1 Broncos travel to Dunn School (2-1) for a 2 p.m. game Saturday. That contest will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams live on www.ktea-fm.

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