Cambrian: Sports

Cuyama Valley keeps Coast Union out of football playoffs

Jimmy Welch (30) blocks for Alam Ramirez (11), who picked up 285 yards from scrimmage Friday night against Cuyama Valley. Roberto Cueva (32) and Jack MacKinnon (8) are also part of the action.
Jimmy Welch (30) blocks for Alam Ramirez (11), who picked up 285 yards from scrimmage Friday night against Cuyama Valley. Roberto Cueva (32) and Jack MacKinnon (8) are also part of the action. Special to The Cambrian

Going into Friday night’s Homecoming game, Coast Union had an opportunity to write its own ticket to postseason play. If they could defeat the Cuyama Valley Bears, the Broncos would host a CIF contest. But a loss would lead to that end-of-season ritual — turning in shoulder pads, helmets and other gear — that high school football players try to postpone.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, the 42 points they scored weren’t enough to stave off a difficult defeat. Shortly after the last few seconds ticked off on the scoreboard the standing-room-only crowd watched each of the 15 Cuyama Valley players celebrate their 64-42 victory by executing sliding dives onto the dew-soaked grass in the Bears’ end zone.

The Broncos were outplayed by a bigger, quicker and meaner team. Head coach Thom Holt called them “the standard in our league.”

“They are disciplined, fast and aggressive.”

Bears quarterback Andy Harrington completed several long passes for touchdowns.

On defense, Bear tacklers several times threw Coast’s top ground-gainer, 150-pound Alam Ramirez, to the ground like a rag doll.

The Bears were up 16-0 after the first quarter and roared out in front 40-8 by halftime. But Quarterback Jack MacKinnon kept handing the ball to Ramirez, and when the fleet-footed junior wasn’t being battered to the ground, he was escaping for huge gains.

Ramirez picked up 285 yards from scrimmage and scored a late nifty 40-yard touchdown after spinning in the air to dodge two would-be tacklers.

MacKinnon threw touchdown passes of 21 and 27 yards to Alexis Mireles, and the junior quarterback ran for a score as well.

Lane Sutherland ran for two touchdowns, recovered a fumble, and was credited with six tackles and two assists. Riley Kennedy chipped in with six tackles, Eddie Camacho had four tackles and three assists, and Warren Smith had three tackles and three assists. Roberto Quintero had three tackles and an assist; Jimmy Welch and MacKinnon each had a pair of tackles.

Holt believes his strategies “are in place for the 2016 season, when seven starters return on offense and five on defense. The bar is set with Cuyama Valley,” Holt explained in a Q&A email on Monday, Nov. 2.

“Next year’s goal is to be more disciplined, faster, and all around more aggressive,” he added. He noted that over the past five seasons, the Broncos have had five different head coaches.

Given that uneven trend, Holt is seeking “a coaching staff that is committed to winning and to stay,” because he believes the school “needs consistency and stability to grow a program.”

Alam Ramirez picked up 285 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 40-yard touchdown. Jack MacKinnon threw touchdown passes of 21 and 27 yards to Alexis Mireles and ran for a score as well.

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