The football game at Coast Union Saturday afternoon, Sept. 6, started out as a kind of David and Goliath story. A diminutive, relatively inexperienced team of 15 players — the Faith Christian Warriors from Coalinga — faced off against the talented, quick-as- lightning and well-coached team of Broncos. But in the end the Biblical story was reversed and David was humbled.
The 77-6 victory that the Broncos achieved was not something Bronco players would ever brag about because it was so one-sided that Coast Union had scored 42 points in the first quarter and by the third quarter Coast Union fans were rooting for the Warriors to put a score up on the board.
When the Warriors’ biggest running back, Nick Phillips, finally muscled the ball into the end zone late in the fourth quarter, fans on the Broncos side of the field stood and cheered. They applauded enthusiastically because, notwithstanding the way the Warriors were dominated, Faith Christian kept the faith and fought valiantly to the end.
The lop-sided nature of the game offered head coach Chuck Garcia a chance to give all his players game experience. Garcia explained that originally Coast Union was scheduled to play Hesperia Christian on Sept. 8, but when that school cancelled, Faith Christian agreed to fill in that date.
When the Broncos had racked up more than 45 points, the “mercy rule” could have been put into effect. That is, the game (by CIF rules) could have been halted due to the terribly one-sided
beating the visitors were taking— and the fear that a player might get hurt. But the Faith Christian coach, Robert Arthurton, did not wish to stop the game, so coaches agreed to continue playing, albeit the clock was allowed to keep running to keep the uneven game moving.
“From the second quarter on,” Garcia explained in a phone interview, “I declined every penalty and we started punting in order to give up possession” (and to give the Warriors additional chances to do well). The Bronco reserves “played 80 percent of the game,” Garcia continued, and moreover, the Broncos “made a huge step forward.
“The biggest step a team can make is between week one and week two, as far as improvement goes, and we made a huge step forward.”
The starting players for the Broncos weren’t accustomed to sitting on the bench and watching the reserves but they understood the situation. Junior linebacker and offensive lineman Chuy Nunez told The Cambrian that, at first, he was a little frustrated on the sidelines “but I was glad the younger guys got to play as much as they did.
“There was an immediate change of tempo and attitude right after the first kickoff, when (Alex Bautista) returned it for a touchdown,” Nunez explained. Everyone was having a ball seeing the younger guys playing.”
Nunez echoed his coach’s appraisal of the team’s proficiency at this stage of the season. “The fact that we’ve been breaking records in the weight room, pushing ourselves in practice, and having the desire to win is also a factor in our great start to the season.”
Moreover, Nunez continued, “We’re making better tackles, running to the ball, and getting a lot of penetration on the d-line.” And while Coast Union doesn’t figure to be playing the role of an overpowering Goliath all season — there will be tough games — it is clear this is a squad that has an enormous depth of talent. That, combined with blazing speed and good team chemistry, should bring droves of fans out to the home games.
The 2-0 Broncos entertain the 2-0 Pacific Lutheran Stingrays at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, on the Coast Union campus. The game will be broadcast live on KMGQFM (103.5) and stream live (on www.ktea-fm.com) at 1 p.m. Saturday.