The Broncos may be justified in believing they took giant steps forward after losing 59-23 on Friday night, Sept. 7, at Laton High School in the San Joaquin Valley.
After all, Coast (0-2) lost 41-0 the previous week. Scoring 23 points feels good and builds confidence. Also, the statistics reflect that the Broncos – with just 4 seniors (one is out for football for the first time) on the team, and 7 freshmen – took on the Laton Mustangs with 12 seniors, a huge advantage in physical development and experience.
Pitting freshmen against seniors in the aggressive game of football is not the ideal match-up coaches (and parents) prefer, but so few upperclassmen came out this fall – or were otherwise available – Head Coach Andrew Crosby and Offensive Coordinator Charlie Casale had no choice but to use freshmen.
But as witnessed Friday night, the Broncos with those freshmen pitching in are making plays, picking up key yardage in tough situations, and improving their defensive strategies.
In an email interview, Crosby said the team “did improve (Friday night) … the line got off the ball and created some holes for our backs/QB to run. Our passing game continues to be strong. … Our student athletes are hungry to be successful, and I am confident we will continue to improve every week.”
The coach gave credit to senior Andrew Mendoza, out for football for the first time, for the “outstanding catch” he made and for the quality of his tackles on defense.
In the ground game, junior quarterback Emany Plasencia picked up 92 yards on 10 rushes and freshman Emi Pena gained 28 yards on 16 rushes. Pena scored a touchdown on a Plasencia pass, one of 15 aerials the quarterback completed – out of 21 attempts – for 174 yards, according to Crosby’s data.
Coast’s top receiver, sophomore Cristian Castillo, grabbed 10 catches for 121 yards (including a touchdown) despite being double-teamed with defenders in his face all evening. Pena picked up 23 yards on 2 catches, and freshman Jonathan Cleve caught 1 pass for 2 yards.
Bronco defenders had a rough time keeping up with speedy Mustang receivers, who frequently were wide open for the sky-high 50-yard bombs delivered by Laton senior quarterback Tysen Westfall. Most of Laton’s scores came on those long darts.
Crosby reported that the Broncos have not sustained any injuries – other than players suffering from occasional bouts with cramps. Coast Union athletic trainer Megan Swanlund is always on hand quickly to attend to those student athletes’ cramps.
On Friday, Sept. 14, the Broncos travel to Santa Barbara to play the Laguna Blanca Owls, a 3 p.m. game. That game is broadcast on KTEA-FM (103.5) and streams on www.1035ktea.com.