Islanders Fall To Caimen, 26-23, On Last Second Touchdown Pass - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Sports

Islanders Fall To Caimen, 26-23, On Last Second Touchdown Pass

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2019 4:37 pm

Regardless of the sport or the season, there’s usually one game that gets away, that by all rights you should have won. Friday night’s Islander Football home came against Classical Academy falls into that category, as Coronado lost 26-23. A quick summary of the contest is the Caimen (defined as more than one crocodilian alligatorid) took their first lead with 11.7 seconds left in the game on a 29-yard touchdown pass that was first tipped by an Islander defender, directly into the hands of a Caimen wide receiver who found the end zone. The game, which was controlled by the Islanders until the very end, took three hours and five minutes to complete.

Despite the fact that a total of 49 points were scored, it was a low-scoring affair in the early going. No points were posted by either team in the first quarter. The Islanders struck first at the 10:26 mark of the second frame, on a 45-yard pass completion from quarterback Ash Bibbes to James Witthoft. One of the highlights in the early-going of the Islander season (1-1 overall record) is the extra point conversion unit consisting of place kicker Nico DiMatteo, long snapper Phil Simpson and holder John Shoemaker. They are a perfect 9-9 through the first two games. 

Six minutes after Coronado’s touchdown, Classical Academy got into the scoring column via a 17-yard pass, although they missed their conversion opportunity. Coronado maintained their slim 7-6 lead into the half-time intermission.

The Islanders played well in the third quarter as they scored on a 10-yard pass play, again from Bibbes to Witthoft, who carried most of the Caimen defensive backfield on his back into the end zone. This time Classical Academy responded in under a minute with a 52-yard touchdown pass, this time failing to score on a two-point conversion attempt, and the score was 14-12. Although there was no more scoring in the quarter, when the teams switched ends of the field, the Islanders were in the midst of a four-play scoring drive that covered 53 yards, culminated in a 24-yard touchdown scamper from running back Devin Schulte.

A senior, Schulte has been a star player for the Islander Lacrosse Team for three years and is making his football debut this year. Schulte was the Islander’s leading scorer in lacrosse last year with 26 goals and four assists. Another Islander expanding his athletic horizons this season is sophomore Ryan Ward, who played on the varsity level in basketball and baseball last year and has now added football to his repertoire. Ward caught two passes from his wide receiver position Friday night for a total of 16 yards. He also plays cornerback on defense.

A short while later, 12 seconds later to be exact, Islander senior defensive lineman Jacob McKanry tackled a Classical Academy running back in the end zone for a safety, and in the process gave the Islanders a 23-12 lead with 11:28 left to play. In addition, the Islanders received the ensuing kickoff after the safety. However, the Caimen re-gained possession via a pass interception and scored three plays later on a 38-yard pass play.

On their next possession, an Islander fumble was recovered on their own 12-yardline and the Coronado defense put up a great effort, including back-to-back sacks of the Classical quarterback, for seven and 18 yards. In their resulting offensive series, Coronado went three and out.

The Caimen began their possession at their own 41-yard line, with 1:52 left to play. Eight plays later, with four of them incomplete passes, Classical Academy scored on the tipped pass play to take a 24-23 lead. They converted the two-point conversion to make the final score 26-23. The loss didn’t come from a lack of effort, but Coronado’s four turnovers didn’t help their cause.

Islander statistical highlights included a great two-way effort from senior Co-Captain Tyler Buckley, who gained 26 yards rushing on three carries, caught six passes for 68 yards, and contributed a team-leading eight tackles on defense. Bibbes was 12-22 passing for 150 yards and two touchdowns; Schulte gained 30 yards on nine carries, caught one pass for 11 yards, and added six tackles including a sack on defense; Witthoft caught two passes for 55 yards and two touchdowns, to go with six tackles and an assisted tackle from his middle linebacker spot; and Brady Roulier gained 33 yards on two kickoff returns.

On the defensive side of the ball, other significant contributors included Ramon Inchaurrandieta with six tackles and two tackles for loss; Jayden Ferrar was credited with four tackles; and Charley Miller had two solo tackles, two assisted tackles and one tackle for loss. 

Islander Head Coach Kurt Hines said, “It was a great game and a tough loss. You want to win those games. I feel a lot better now after this loss than I did after our first win. We were sloppy and we made some crucial mistakes in this Friday’s game, but they played their hearts out, were focused and didn’t quit. I watched the game film four times and it never comes down to just one play. It was a tough one, but Classical Academy is a well-coached and disciplined team. On their last scoring play, we didn’t aggressively attack the ball to bat it down. But we’ll live to fight another day.”

Hines said of Tyler Buckley, who started as a sophomore and is now a senior Co-Captain, “Tyler is just a stud and a great kid. James Witthoft is a leader through and through, by his actions and in his play. And our kicker Nico DiMatteo is a sophomore this year and was on the JV last year. He has a big-time leg and his other sports passion is rugby. And on defense, James Ferrar had a good game at cornerback.”

This Friday the Islanders travel to play at El Cajon Valley High School, a team Coronado defeated 76-0 last year. Hines said, “My only concern is our guys don’t take them lightly. They are a much-improved team and they are a big team. That was a very unfortunate game last year. They’re 2-0 right now with wins over Francis Parker and Hoover. Parker has good athletes and Hoover traditionally comes to hit. El Cajon’s offense is almost completely different than what we saw from Classical Academy. El Cajon is very run heavy and they pass just enough to keep you honest and disciplined. They have some kids with breakaway speed. We need to have a good week of practice and we’ll be ready. Saturday after practice, I looked in our players’ eyes after losing and they showed a lot of fire and resolve.” Kick-off for Friday night’s game at El Cajon Valley is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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