Before the Coronado Islanders’ Week 3 matchup versus Hoover, I had the chance to speak with head coach Kurt Hines. He told me two of the main focuses this week were to take advantage of the, at times, undisciplined Cardinals and tighten up on defense. A message and game plan that everyone on the Islander sideline understood.
It would not take long for one of Hines’s goals to come to fruition as on the Cardinals’ second play from scrimmage, Clark Anderson read the Hoover screenplay perfectly and intercepted the first pass the game. Setting up the Islanders at the Hoover 30-yard line for their opening drive. With Anderson and the Islander defense bringing the thunder early, the Islanders offense did their part and provided the lighting. Coronado’s first play from scrimmage quarterback Hudson Herber would find his wide receiver John Cook down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown, giving Coronado the early 7-0 lead and setting the tone for how the rest of the evening would transpire.
The following two drives for the visiting Cardinals would be near mirror images to their first. On just the fifth play of the night, the Islanders defense would create yet another turnover, this one coming courtesy of No. 22 Elias Valdivia. The Coronado offense would yet again take advantage of the short field, as lead by the two-headed monster in the backfield of No. 9 Zane Delcore and No. 4 Jayden Ferrer. The Islanders would rattle off a quick five-play 40 touchdown drive that was capped off by a 9-yard touchdown run by No. 4 Ferrer—making it 14-0 Islanders.
Coronado’s defense was relentless all night, as before the first quarter would end, they would have another interception thanks to a tremendous leaping grab in one-on-one coverage by No. 32, Logan Eastlick. Coronado’s defensive effort and play were so strong Friday night that they did not allow Hoover to pick up a first down until there was just 5:22 left in the first quarter.
The Islanders would carry their hot start right into the second quarter, as on their fourth drive of the game, the Islander rushing attack would again lead the way as the Islanders would find themselves in the red zone yet again, thanks to solid running from Ferrer and No. 5 Joseph Taylor-Pate, who broke off a 30 yarder on the drive. The Coronado drive would be capped off by a fourth and goal run by Delcore to make it 21-0 Islanders.
For most teams, a 21-0 lead may have them taking their foot off the gas pedal, but for the Islanders, that wasn’t the case. On the ensuing Hoover drive, the Cardinals would attempt to get their shot passing offense going, but the Islander defense would have none of it. As on a second and 7, No. 55 Donny Couts, who had been living in the Hoover backfield all night, made a house call with a 26 yard pick-6 to make it a 27-0 Islanders lead.
And while one defensive touchdown is excellent, the Coronado defense decided to tack another one on for good measure. As on the next drive, the Islanders front four collapsed the pocket around the Hoover quarterback, forcing him to scramble. However, he was quickly met by the right shoulder of No. 4 Ferrer, jarring the ball loose where it was scooped up and taken for six by No. 32 Hudson Bartell for yet another Islander touchdown—making it a 34-0 lead. The route was officially on.
Coronado would have another crack at the end zone with 1:55 left in the quarter thanks to a nice back-to-back catch and runs of 30 and 14 yards by freshmen No. 29, Griffin Rosenbloom. But the drive would ultimately stall after a Hoover defender jumped in front of a pass from Herber, to keep it 34-0 Islanders heading into the half.
In the second half, the Islander’s defense would continue to make its best impression of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and it kept the Cardinals at bay all second half as well. In total, the Islander defense would hold Hoover to just 197 yards of total offense(74 passing and 123 on the ground) and surrender just nine first downs on the night. As for the Coronado offense, things would cool down just a bit. As while they were able to move the ball, they could only punch in one more touchdown for the night. But it would be a somewhat historic one. With 3:43 left in the third quarter, the Islanders had yet again worked the ball back inside the red zone after a pair of long runs by Herber and Taylor-Pate.
On third and goal at the Hoover 4-yard line, the Islanders lined up in a shot-gun set and handed the ball to running back No.40 Tatum Wade, who ran it right behind the guard for the touchdown giving Coronado the 40-0 lead. The touchdown by Wade was the first-ever scored by a girl of Coronado Islander football. You could tell the moment wasn’t just significant for Wade, but for her teammates as well. As they all bombarded her in the end zone and on the sidelines with congratulations and praise. The explosion from the Islander faithful was evident as well. Everyone knew they were seeing history unfold. It was, in many ways, the final piece that the night was all Islanders, as the Islanders would take home the 40-0 victory and improve to 2-1 on the season.