Coast Union’s football team made a 2 1/2-hour pilgrimage to Fresno Christian on Friday, Sept. 5, opening the season with high hopes for success. But the 90-degree heat took its toll on the young and largely inexperienced Broncos, who went down to defeat against the Eagles 40-26.
“It was a baptism of fire for some of the younger kids we put out there,” head coach Bill Clough explained, noting that several sophomores played in a game for the first time. The hot weather and the lack of depth also were factors in the defeat, he said. “Some of our players were beat up and by the fourth quarter our guys were tired,” Clough explained.
Clough expects to have a deeper team this week as several players had to sit out Friday night because they hadn’t had the requisite time on the practice field to qualify under CIF rules. “We’ll be better,” Clough promised, looking ahead to the 7 p.m. game Friday, Sept. 12, against Kings Christian at Coast Union.
He praised the passing game — junior quarterback and first-time starter Alexis Mirales completed 10 of 24 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns — while noting that the running game struggled throughout the warm evening.
In fact, Broncos senior running back Binh Trieu, known for his swiftness and ability to slip through tiny openings in the defensive front for significant gains, managed only 34 yards on 17 carries, albeit he scored one touchdown on the ground. Time and again, Fresno Christian defenders blew through the Broncos line and tackled the speed-burner Trieu — and fellow running back Lane Sutherland (who gained just 2 yards in five carries) — in the backfield.
On the bright side, when Trieu did finally blast through the line, he scored on a 10-yard run. He also caught a 15-yard pass for a score, and, using his blistering speed, took a kickoff back 70 yards for another touchdown late in the game. He accounted for 18 of Coast Union’s 26 points.
Sutherland had a good night on defense, racking up four solo tackles and assisting on three others. He also had an interception. Senior Gehrig Kniffen had six solo tackles and assisted on two other stops; junior Jimmy Welch came up with five solo tackles; and senior Jake McAvoy had three solo tackles.
Senior wide receiver Tommy Moreno caught seven passes from Mirales, one on a 70-yard touchdown reception that accounted for the fourth Coast Union score. Moreno used his agility and his great hands to battle for yardage throughout the game; on defense he came up with four solo tackles.
Clough is confident that, with one game under their belts, his players will respond positively to the challenge that Kings Christian will present Friday night at Coast Union, where the familiar cool Cambria air will provide a welcome contrast to last Friday’s stifling heat.
The 7 p.m. game will be broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5) and stream live on www.ktea-fm.com.