Give the Bronco football team credit. Outnumbered and out-played though they were last Friday night, Sept. 3, against Mission Prep in San Luis Obispo, they never stopped fighting for yardage, never let up on defense, and several of their key players battled boldly through aches and pains.
Even as the Royals, already ahead 33-0, handed the ball to a 230-pound lineman (Andrew DaRosa) moonlighting as a fullback, who roared through tired Bronco defenders like a chain saw through warm butter for a 70-yard touchdown, Coast Union kept chins up and fought on.
Indeed, the Broncos were stymied at just about every aspect except one: of the six opportunities the Royals had to score points after touchdowns, Coast Union prevented four.
Given that this was the season opener and head coach Ron Garcia had been dealt less than a full deck from which to play a winning hand (only 16 varsity players dressed), the score — 39-0 — was not too surprising. However, Garcia’s roster will be bolstered this week.
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Garcia will have two additional players in uniform for Friday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., the home opener against Mojave High School. Junior Andy Gordon, an outstanding basketball and baseball player, is expected to play, along with late-arriving lineman, Luis Gonzalez.
Notwithstanding the lopsided score, there were some outstanding efforts on the part of the Broncos, including the slickest play of the night on what was supposed to be a punt. Coast Union was facing a fourth down and long yardage; quarterback Omar Catalan, who also kicks field goals and punts, was back in position to receive the snap, calling signals.
But wait — the ball was snapped instead to speedy running back Zach Brooke, who scooted around the right side for a surprise first down, and more. It was one of only four Bronco first downs, but the substantial contingent of Coast Union fans in the visitors’ bleachers stood and roared their approval as though the guys in red helmets had just won the Super Bowl.
Bronco fans also rose and applauded when Coast Union defensive back Diego Pena artfully plucked an errant Royals pass out of the air for an interception. The one-handed grab by Pena — after intended Royals’ receiver Trevor Fernandez couldn’t come up with it — gave the Broncos a moment’s worth of momentum.
Soon, however, the Royals, with rested players being brought in from the sidelines while Coast Union’s team was wearing down, snuffed the next Bronco drive and regained control of the game. The total net yardage for the Royals (493) compared with Coast Union’s total (61) tells the story more poignantly than any other statistic.
While the Broncos’ ground game was stuffed again and again, feature back Brooke nevertheless rammed, hurtled, and blasted for nearly 80 yards on kick-off returns and another 44 yards out of the backfield.
Wide receiver Sam Rivera returned kick-offs 55 yards and Harper Resewehr was all over the field, playing an aggressive, relentless defense, getting in on numerous tackles.
If the Broncos expect to compete successfully against Mojave Friday night, they need to shore up their passing game — QB Catalan connected on only two of 12 tosses for 17 yards. Keeping the opponents’ defensive line out of the backfield until the play is launched will go a long way towards giving Catalan time to hand off or throw the ball downfield.
Friday night’s 7 p.m. home game will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5). It streams live on www.ktea-fm.com and is compatible for the iPhone and Blackberry.