The Islanders Football team had one choice this past Friday night, Nov. 12, in their CIF quarterfinals rematch versus Sweetwater. Win or go home.
The Islanders chose the former of the two options as Coronado took home the 15-0 victory over the Red Devils of Sweetwater.
“We came out and executed,” said Islanders Head Coach Kurt Hines “We have some things to work on for this week on offense, but I was extremely proud of how our defense stepped up for us”
It was a game that the Islanders controlled from the first snap. As on their opening drive of the game, they drove 68 yards for a touchdown. The drive was highlighted by two explosive plays, one being a pitch and catch from Hudson Herber to Graham Bower for 18 yards, and the second was immediately followed up by a 41-yard touchdown run by senior Zane Delcore to give the Islanders the early 7-0 advantage.
Coronado would add to their lead at the mid-way point of the second quarter thanks to a 44-yard punt return touchdown from Elias Valdivia to make it a 15-0 lead for the Islanders.
Those 15 points are all the Islanders defenses would need for the night. The Islanders all night would load the box, knowing the Sweetwater was somewhat of a one-trick pony running the ground and pound offense.
All night defensive ends Finley Alexander and Donny Couts did a fantastic job of setting edges. The Islanders front four did a commendable job of not allowing Sweetwater ball carriers to break or bounce runs outside to the perimeter. “Our defensive line did a great job of staying disciplined, they stayed in their lanes and held their assignments extremely well,” said Hines.
To go along with the fantastic end play, Coronado also got hard-nosed and gritty efforts on the interior of the defensive line from Asa Valdivia and JT Nelson. Nelson had perhaps saved his best game of the season for the Islander’s most important game, as the junior racked up a total of nine tackles, which included a sack and two for loss.
“JT’s performance was so important for us on Friday,” said Hines “He had been a little banged up the last few weeks, but he came out and played fearlessly and with a ton of intensity. He was a difference-maker for us.”
Even on the rare occurrences when the Red Devils tried to move the ball through the air, the Islanders secondary would have none of it. The Islander defensive backs even registered a turnover thanks to fantastic reads from Logan Eastlick, who broke early from his safety position to snag a floater thrown by Sweetwater’s quarterback for an interception.
With the win over Sweetwater on Friday, the Islanders punched their ticket to the CIF Semifinals where they will face off against University City, a team that just three weeks ago beat the Islanders 60-14.
“The last time we faced UC we were just too inconsistent,” said Hines “Offensively we were able to move the ball with success, but we had too many drives stall on their end of the field. So we’ll have to make sure to finish these drives off this time around. And defensively we just need to do a better job of staying disciplined, as we did versus Sweetwater.”
The showdown between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds will go down this Friday, Nov. 19, at University City High School at 7 p.m. as the Islanders will look to advance the Division Four Championship.