The Coast Union High School football team turned in by far its most impressive performance of the season thus far on a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon at Pacific Grove High School — but the Broncos again came up short.
Trinity Christian held on for a 47-42 win in the old-fashioned barn-burner, a back-and-forth contest that came down to the last possession between the evenly-matched sides both seeking their first win of the season.
The game hinged on a crucial coaching decision with the Broncos (0-5) trailing 47-39 with 1:27, opting for a 42-yard field goal — that quarterback Emany Plasencia nailed from the wind-whipped artificial turf field to bring his team within five points — rather than go for it on fourth down with the ball inside Warriors territory.
Trinity Christian (1-4) recovered Coast’s subsequent attempt at an onside kick, and let the clock run out.
“We just ran out of time,” Coast Union offensive coordinator Charlie Casale wrote in a later email interview.
Among the bright spots for the Broncos was freshman fullback/halfback Emi Pena, who scored three touchdowns (on runs of 24, 6 and 30 yards) and rushed for 180 yards. Pena played a pivotal role, stepping in as quarterback when Plasencia was out for most of the third quarter with what head coach Andrew Crosby referred to as “a knee sprain.”
When Plasencia felt “comfortable enough to go back in,” he returned to lead the team the rest of the way. Plasencia, who rushed (unofficially) for 161 yards, scored the first touchdown of the game in the first quarter on a four-yard run; he scored on an 18-yard scamper in the second quarter as well.
“Our team played hard the entire game… our guys never give up,” Crosby said.
On defense, unofficial stats show that junior Spencer Magnuson led the team with six tackles; he also burst across the line and lept into the air to bat down an attempted pass by Trinity’s quarterback. Pena had four tackles; freshmen Angel Reyes and Jonathan Cleve each had three tackles. Senior Cesar Paz recovered a fumble and had three tackles; he was also in on several other tackles.
Casale credited the successful rushes by Pena and Plasencia to the fact that they “…both ran hard (and) especially after contact they kept driving their legs. Our goal was to establish a violent running game to balance our pass offense.”
Casale said Coast’s tough preseason schedule has prepared the team for the Coast Valley League season, which opens at home Friday, Oct. 5, against Maricopa.
“Every week we have gotten better, and will continue to get better… we’re hungry for a win,” Crosby said.
Friday night’s homecoming game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on KTEA-FM (103.5). It streams on 1035ktea.com.