For the second straight week the Coast Union football team faced off against a squad from a well-heeled boarding school where the tuition is upwards of $45,000. And while the ending wasn’t as cruelly one-sided as the previous week (when the Broncos were dominated by Cate School 62-15) it was a second straight loss after seven consecutive victories.
On a steamy Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27, in a box canyon east of Ojai — surrounded by stunningly picturesque mountains — the Broncos were topped, 50-30, by Thacher School.
A key mistake here (like allowing the Frogs easy possession of an onside kick), missed tackles there (at the outset ball carriers for Thacher seemed like they were too slippery to grab), and the Broncos found themselves down 35-6 early — and down 44-14 at half time.
When a team gets that far behind early against a good team with outstanding play-makers, it is very tough to dig out of that hole, as Coast Union discovered.
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Still, in the second half the Broncos got into the game and quarterback Alex Bautista was throwing accurate darts, making completions, and moving the chains. Receivers Tommy Howard and Emmany Godinez made some great catches and the team battled back from its earlier deficit.
And on defense, Dylan Vialpando and Lane Sutherland were getting into the Frog’s backfield and harassing their quarterback.
Head coach Chuck Garcia praised his team for playing a stronger game than they had played the previous week. “One thing that was really positive for me as a coach, and for all of us, was that we played against average teams the first seven games of the season. So we really didn’t know what we could do as a team.
“But after playing Cate and Thacher the past two weeks, we found a lot of things out about our team. So going into the playoffs we now know what we can do and what we can’t do. We’re pretty excited to be going into the playoffs.”
In fact on Saturday, Nov. 3, the Broncos (7-2) play their first playoff game against the number-one ranked team in the eight-man Warrior League, Nuview Bridge in Nuevo, a town in Riverside County.