Islander Fall To Country Day ...

Senior running back Connor Little snatches the ball out of the air for an interception during last Friday night’s 34-8 loss to La Jolla Country Day.

Friday nights football game between the Coronado Islanders and La Jolla Country Day High School (LJCD) turned out to be a tough match for the Islanders. 

Coming off back-to-back wins vs. Santana and Mar Vista, the Islanders were looking to make it three in a row, but LJCD was up for the challenge, handing Coronado a 34-8 loss to move Coronado to 3-2 on the year. 

While the score appeared one sided, there were still a few positive takeaways for the Islanders throughout the game. 

Offensively they were able to move the ball on down. By my count, their first down play average was just around 5.1 yards. That’s quite good, and it’s something Islander football Head Coach Kurt Hines noted as well, “80 percent of the time our first play offensively was fantastic. It would go for seven plus yards, but then we would have a false start or a holding call that would not allow us to get into a rhythm.” 

Another positive was the Islanders fine pass defense. It was a strong night for Jaden Banner and Logan Eastlick, who both registered two pass breakups, and not to be outdone, Connor Little would nab an interception, his first of the 2022 season. 

In fact, Coronado was the first team to hold LJCD to under 200 yards passing this season. A stat the Islanders should take pride in as LJCD this season average over 260 yards per game through the air. 

On offense, Graham Bower was yet again effective in both the passing and rushing game as he reeled in two catches for 44-yards while carrying the ball 11 times for 60-yards. 

As well, with Bower being such an electrifying playmaker, the Islanders have begun moving him back to his natural position of Slot-Back and began giving freshman QB Trey Arnold more reps under center. 

“Graham is one of the greatest young men I’ve ever coached. He’s an absurd athlete and with him out wide, I think it can help us tremendously. He will still continue to get reps at QB too,” Hines continued. “Trey has a lot of upside and potential at QB. He’s very coachable, and we can get him up to speed very quickly with the bye week.”   

For the Islanders, the real reason for their struggles Friday night was the accumulation of small mistakes.  

On the night, the Islanders turned over the ball seven times, with four fumbles and three interceptions. And when you do that, it makes coming out with the victory rather difficult. However, the issues of false starts and turnovers are very fixable and with Coronado on a bye this week, they will have plenty of time to learn from the mistakes. 

“With turnovers and fumbles, it just comes down to focus,” said Hines. “In practice, all of our guys do a great job of holding onto the ball. We need to get that to translate more to the game. I’m very confident in this group to adjust.”  

But the small miscues were not the only attributing factor to the Islander’s struggles, as Coronado unfortunately had to deal with some injuries to key players. This week, they lost star linebacker, JT Nelson. And without the run-stuffing and all-around playmaker Nelson on the field, it allowed LJCD to run the ball more effectively. 

“Losing JT was a big blow… not having him out there was a big difference in this game,” said Hines. “We’re missing him, Jack Delcore, two offensive linemen… but we have the next man up mentality, and we know those next guys up are going to step up.”  

While the loss to Country Day was tough, Coronado will now have some extra time to look back at the film and make proper adjustments with their bye this week. And with the coaching and player talent they have, that adjustment will no doubt be made.

Coronado will be back in action after their bye when they take on Hoover High School for their first conference game of 2022 on Friday, September 30, and 7 p.m.

VOL. 112, NO. 38 - Sept. 21, 2022

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