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Coronado wins first homecoming game in decade, tops Sierra 21-15
The last time Coronado won on homecoming, its senior class was in second grade. But none of that mattered Saturday as the Cougars held on to beat Sierra 21-15 at Garry Berry Stadium to exorcise a decade’s worth of demons.
“We’ve worked hard for this season since January and it feels really good to get this monkey off our back,” said Coronado sophomore fullback Zeb Foster, who scored his team’s second touchdown. “It was a pretty big monkey, but he’s not coming back.”
It was evident from the opening kickoff that this wasn’t just another game for Coronado (2-3). The large red- and gold-clad crowd had some extra energy and it carried over to the field.
Even when Sierra (2-3) struck first when quarterback Monta Scott picked up his fumble on a broken play, found a seam and ran for a 55-yard touchdown early in the second quarter to give the Stallions a 7-0 lead, Coronado was not fazed.
The Cougars would answer late in the first half with the help of a strong defensive effort. After the defense collected two sacks and tackled a screen pass for a loss, Sierra faced a fourth-and-31 at its 15.
Coronado would return the ensuing punt to the Sierra 33 and on the next play Evan Strauss rumbled for a 33-yard touchdown run to knot the score at seven going into the break.
On its first two drives of the second half, Coronado’s power running game took over. In two possessions the Cougars covered 135 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns to build a 21-7 lead.
“In the second half our backs hit the holes harder and our line fixed some things on their blocking and we kept pounding it down the middle,” Strauss said.
However, the win wouldn’t come easy for the home team. With 6:56 left in the game, Sierra’s Damani Thomas returned a fumble 55 yards for a score to make it 21-13.
After Coronado intentionally took a safety with 1.8 seconds left, it had one final kickoff to Sierra and a six-point lead.
Sierra’s lateral play attempt, a la Cal vs. Stanford and its band 30 years ago, fell short at the 50-yard line.
“The work that these gentlemen put in to make this happen was incredible,” Coronado coach Bob Lizarraga said. “These kids really deserve this.”
Much like Sierra’s last-gasp kickoff return on the last play, its last drive in the final minutes had some promise, but fell by the wayside at the Coronado 19. The Stallions’ senior signal caller says consistency is key moving forward.
“It’s about putting it all together and not having anybody mess up on a given play,” Scott said. “If we can know our assignments and work together better we can be very dangerous.”