High School Sports

Coast Union back at varsity level for football

The Coast Union High football program is back after a one-season hiatus, but it will not be business as usual in Cambria this time around.

The Broncos, who only fielded a junior varsity program last season because of a lack of numbers, have joined the 8-man CIF-Southern Section Division I Condor League.

“It’s a tough transition,” coach Chuck Garcia said. “This is my 36th year of coaching, and my offensive coordinator, it’s his 45th year of coaching. Neither of us have ever even seen an 8-man game before.

“But it’s football. Guys are going to be blocking and tackling. It’s a little bit faster of a game. We haven’t changed our offense at all really, we pretty much kept the same verbage and plays.”

Garcia will see early if his kids can handle the transition. Coast Union, which has joined the Condor League instead of the local Division II Coast Valley League, will face seven teams that were in the playoffs a season ago.

“We could have played a lot smaller schools from the area,” Garcia said. “But I felt like if we were going to play, it should be against the top level. I think these guys are going to do very well. I see us being very competitive.”

The Broncos will be led by senior quarterback Nolan Baldwin, who split time at the position last season but has since locked down the starting spot with a strong effort in the offseason.

“He’s done a great job, ever since February in the weight room, this summer in passing league and all that,” Garcia said.

Behind Baldwin will be a three-man rushing attack featuring seniors Alex Bautista and Luis Dealba and freshman Lane Sutherland, who will line up on defense as Coast Union’s starting linebacker.

Junior wide receiver Tommy Howard should provide some explosiveness on the outside.

“Everyone looks good practicing, but you don’t know for sure until you actually get out there and play,” Garcia said. “We’re throwing them into the middle of it. It’s really new for them, but these guys are really eager. The kids know what they’re getting themselves into.”