The lights on the football field at Maricopa High School on Friday, Sept. 29 weren’t as bright as other gridiron lights the team has played under, but the Coast Union Broncos nevertheless lit up the night with a sizzling display of quality running, passing and tackling.
This surge of football prosperity is reflected in the 53-0 score, the third straight win for Coast and a nice way to open the Coast Valley League season. In fairness, the Maricopa Indians are not blessed with outstanding talent this year. The school has 84 students. But on the other hand, the Broncos have clearly evolved from the inexperienced, underachieving squad that took the field — and were handily beaten — the first two games this season.
The score at Maricopa was 42-0 to start the second half; hence, the “mercy rule” took effect, so the clock kept running during normal stoppages, sparing additional humiliation (and possible injuries) to the hometown team on its Homecoming night.
Credit for the huge gains by Bronco offensive players — in particular Damian Fernandez and quarterback Riley Kennedy — should go to the front line of Coast Union. Nic Robertson, Brian Bautista, Spencer Magnuson, Luis Aguilar, and others substituted by coach Ron Garcia opened sizable holes on offense and stopped the Indians’ forward movement on defense.
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Fernandez rolled through and around defenders to gain 270 yards, according to statistics kept by KTEA-FM. He scored five touchdowns, including one on a 59-yard scamper. Kennedy, who injured his thumb during the game, limited his throwing to Eddie Camacho (three completions) but picked up 74 yards on the ground – including a 12-yard touchdown run — and scored a pair of two-point conversions for the Broncos.
“I really like the aggressive running that all of our backs are doing right now,” Garcia said in an email interview. The defensive players are “executing their responsibilities much better” than earlier this season, Garcia commented.
That said, the coach still expects the team to focus on “fundamentals and execution,” and he expressed “disappointment that we committed some penalties that exhibited poor judgment.”
I really like the aggressive running that all of our backs are doing right now.
Ron Garcia, Coast Union football coach
Emany Plasencia scored a touchdown and passed to Eddie Camacho for a long gain. Plasencia also kicked a 35-yard field goal and booted several extra points after Bronco touchdowns. Camacho caught passes for 27 yards, and led Coast on defense with nine tackles and six assists.
Juan Mejia came in and picked up 50 yards on the ground late in the game. It was his first appearance in several games due to an illness.
Also on defense, Plasencia made two tackles, one a touchdown-saving stop for Coast. Magnuson was credited with four tackles, three assists and a fumble recovery. Robertson recovered a fumble, blocked a pass and made a pair of tackles with an assist.
Bautista had three tackles and four assists; Kennedy had three tackles and two fumble recoveries; Christian Castillo had two tackles, as did Aguilar.
Coast Union (3-2 overall) returns home Friday, Oct. 6 to host the Cuyama Valley Bears at 7 p.m. The Broncos and Bears are tied (1-0) for the top Coast Valley League spot. The game will be broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5), and streams live on www.1035ktea.com.