Saturday, September 08, 2012

"The Turnaround": Coronado 7 Lubbock 0

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Coach

Coronado Mustangs vs. Lubbock High

Location - Lubbock, TexasStadium - Lowrey Field at Plains Capital Park
Time - 7:30 p.m.
Captains - Joel Rivera, Raleigh Anderson, Keefe Gallagher, Dom Adame

Coin Toss - We want the ball (Coronado won toss and elected to receive).

Westerner Key's to Victory:

1. Start fast
2. Ball security/protect the ball
3. Finish (drives, quarters and the game)

LHS has not beaten Coronado since 1985... The last Westerner victory was on October 23, 2009... We are the home team tonight, but we have elected to wear our white jersey's and black pants... Associate Head Coach David Moody admitted today that he eats at Bonus Burger once a week.

Game Notes

First Half

Coronado started on offense and immediately tried to test us on the first play. They went deep (something you would not expect from them to start the game) and we found ourselves in good position. Erin Lopez, a junior Safety, was playing his deep half cover 2 and was in great position. Lopez broke on the ball and intercepted the pass. The fast start we were looking for was granted to us again. First play from scrimmage and we found ourselves making something happen. 

Unfortunately, we were not able to capitalize on Erin's big play. We drove the ball into Mustang territory, but the offense stalled. Little did I know that this would be the story of the game for us. It seemed like we spent the entire first half driving into Coronado territory. The problem was we could not punch one into the end zone. We shot ourselves in the foot on numerous occasions and Coronado's defense stiffened when it needed to. 

For the first time ever, I found myself going into halftime tied 0-0. In today's game that is unheard of! You have to give credit to both defenses. I think defense is undervalued in this offensive state of my mind we now coach in. We witnessed some great defense in the first half.


We felt good heading into halftime. We were going to receive the ball and we felt we could drive down the field and grab the lead. In fact, the way our D was playing I felt one TD would win it. I thought we could do that. I know KJ and his staff also felt good about where they were at too. I am quite certain they also believed that one score by them would win it.

3rd Quarter

We started off moving the ball on our initial drive. We stalled out after crossing midfield. Another frustrating series for us as we could not keep momentum going. Coronado was able to snatch that momentum and grind out the decisive drive of the game. Midway through the 3rd the Mustangs punched one in. The PAT was good and they were up 7-0. 

4th Quarter

We could not sustain any drives. We would drive and come up short. Deep into the 4th we faced a crucial 4th & 5, deep in Mustang territory. We threw a route underneath and it looked like we had a first down. However, the spot came up short and Coronado took over. At this point, the Mustangs could have nailed the door shut on us. Our defense made a stand and forced Coronado to attempt a FG. They have one of the best kickers around. We were staring at 10-0 hole if he hit this. I don't think he got a clean kick on the ball. The kick was short and suddenly we had life. One more chance to make something happen.

When we took over I made the decision that if we scored we were going for 2. Right as the drive started I said it into the headsets. Within a second we already had the 2 point conversion play decided upon. At that moment we felt we were going to score. My grand plan was to score, get the 2 point conversion and get one more stop on D to come out with an 8-7 win. 

We started our drive and you could feel that we were going to make something happen. We had a crucial throw from Layven Armendariz hauled in by Joel Rivera. That kept the chains moving. Suddenly we were into Coronado territory. RB Brandon Hernandez then broke off a long run. The Westerners were in the Red Zone. After a false start and two bungled plays, we faced a long 3rd down conversion. Armendariz hit Bam Jackson on a crossing route and Bam took it all the way down to the 5. We were in business. 

On 1st and goal Hernandez carried the ball down to the 1. There we were. 1 yard away from making this a game and possibly nailing down a win. Hernandez was forced to the sideline after the play because his helmet popped off. That is a MAJOR weapon to remove from the game. On 2nd and goal from the 1, Coronado nailed Armendariz in the backfield. Hernandez entered back in for 3rd and goal from the 4. We gave him the ball, Coronado forced him to bounce and caught him for a loss of 5. Just like that we were looking at 4th and goal from the 9. We went with a 3x1 look. We felt we had leverage to the single receiver side. We threw the fade to Rivera. Coronado's corner made a heck of play and wrestled away an interception. Just like that we were done.

Final score Coronado 7-0. 


Both teams had opportunities. Coronado capitalized on one and they came away with a "W". It was a frustrating game for us on offense. Duane Toliver put together a great defensive game plan. He had our D rolling. It is a shame we let that effort go wasted.

KJ and I hugged at midfield. Coronado D-Coordinator Mike Meeks and I shared a hug as well. He did an outstanding job. James Vint, my fellow Yankee and Coronado assistant, grabbed me and told me to keep it going, we are on the right track. That is what this game is all about. We lost and it stung. The first people to lift your spirits is the visiting sideline? Unheard of for most, but not when Coronado and LHS hook up in football. It is a great game and it involves relationships that go much deeper than any athletic event can ever match. 

We will bounce back. I know it. The staff knows it. Most importantly, the kids know it. 

Let's see what tomorrow brings...

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