The month of September came in with a thud for the Coast Union football team, as the Broncos were outgunned in their home opener by the Mustangs from Laton High School, 58-22. In fairness, this was Coast Union’s first game, it was a non-league contest, and the relatively inexperienced team is learning a new system under head coach Ron Garcia and offensive coordinator Charlie Casale.
Coast Union’s defensive secondary could not keep up with Laton’s swift, shifty receivers, and Coast was burned time and again on long bombs for touchdowns. On the other hand, Coast quarterback Riley Kennedy’s deep passes were defended well by the Mustangs.
It was a warm-up for the team on a day when the community wilted in the face of extraordinarily high temperatures, but the Broncos have another mountain to climb Friday night, Sept. 8, when they play Mission Prep (for the first time in recent years) in San Luis Obispo.
Garcia explained that, during preseason, he and Casale were aware that the lack of “depth and experience” was likely to be problematic in games against strong opponents. So, Garcia reported in an email interview, the strategy was to play man coverage and pressure the Laton quarterback.
When that didn’t work, the Broncos went into zone coverage, Garcia continued; but the Coast Union defense didn’t execute that tactic sufficiently, and the Mustang receivers were open for quarterback Tysen Westfall’s deep darts. Garcia said the team will “continue to work on man coverage techniques,” and he will focus during this week’s practice sessions on the defensive line’s ability to pressure the quarterback.
The coach said the team may not be “the most talented,” but, he added, “We do have a lot of character” and the team “never quit playing Friday.” There is “a lot of potential for growth,” he added.
Quarterback Kennedy was the workhorse for the Broncos. The KTEA-FM broadcast team recorded that Kennedy gained 194 tough yards from scrimmage, and he scored all three Bronco touchdowns – thanks to strong blocking by his line.
On defense, Kennedy led the way with 10 tackles and two assists. Eddie Camacho had four tackles, and he caught passes for 12 and 17 yards; Luis Aguilar had two tackles and an assist; Juan Mejia (who gained 57 yards rushing) chipped in with five assists and two tackles.
Andres Quintero was credited with three tackles and two assists; and Brian Bautista made four tackles.
Kennedy left the field with cramps in the second quarter, but he’ll be fine, Garcia reported. The coach is more concerned about injuries to his running backs, Emany Plasencia and Damien Fernandez; both are being attended to by new Coast Union athletic trainer Megan Swanland.
Friday’s game at Mission Prep will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5) at 7 p.m. It also streams live on www.1035ktea.com.