Coast Union High’s football team is one win away from being able to call itself champs.
The Broncos (11-1) will be on the road Saturday to face Faith Baptist (8-4) in Canoga Park at 1:30 p.m. in the CIF-Southern Section final in Division 1 8-man football.
Coach Union coach Charlie Casale said he isn’t sure of the last time the Broncos were in a division final. But since he began as an assistant with the Broncos in 2003, the furthest the school has gone was the quarterfinals until this season’s achievement.
“This group has set the bar high for the school,” Casale said. “They’ve made the others realize that if they work hard, they can do this. This is one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had.”
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Coast Union has an all-around squad that can see a different player come up with a big play in any given game.
Last week, in a 48-22 semifinal win over Lucerne Valley, Coast Union’s Danny Rodriguez snagged an interception and ran it back 35 yards for a touchdown at a critical time with the Broncos up 21-14 and Lucerne Valley driving.
“High school football is all about momentum, and that interception by Danny last week helped us seize the momentum when it was going back and forth,” Casale said.
Emmany Godinez, one of the team’s top receivers, also had an interception return for a score.
“Our offense has been consistent all year,” Casale said. “We’re gaining close to 500 yards per game. Our defense was OK in the beginning of the season, but it has gotten a lot better.
Now they’re tough to play against. They believe in themselves.”
Coast Union quarterback Angel Avina averages 164 yards per game passing and 104 rushing yards per game.
Last week, he punched in 1-yard and 10-yard rushing scores.
Avina’s mobility is complemented by running back Binh Trieu, a speedy runner who recorded 35-yard and 27-yard touchdown runs last week. Trieu averages about 57 yards per game.
Lane Sutherland gains about 136 yards per game and had a 5-yard scoring run last week.
Juan Leonardo is another swift back who tacks on about 35 yards per game.
“Our consistency really starts with the offensive line,” Casale said. “They get off the ball really well.”
Coast Union — the division’s second-seeded team — will face a team that has played well of late in Faith Baptist (8-4), which entered with an at-large berth.
Faith Baptist upset fourth-seeded Cate in the second round 50-22 and won 36-28 against Avalon last week. Avalon knocked off top-seeded Mojave 44-27 the previous week.
Faith Baptist receiver Gary Tyler had a 72-yard touchdown on a kickoff return for the Contenders last week and caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback John Rasmussen.
“I’ve seen a lot of video on them and they seem to be getting better all of the time,” Casale said. “They improved every week. They have a couple of good receivers. They have a good quarterback. He’ll tall, about 6-3, and runs the ball well.”
The Broncos have limited turnovers since a 50-48 loss to Laguna Blanca earlier in the season. Coast Union had four turnovers in that game, its fourth contest of the season.
“In a way, that loss helped us a lot in concentrating on protecting the ball,” Casale said. “Takeaways are huge. They can mean the difference. … It will be interesting Saturday. I think we’ll play well.”