Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 | 10:22 p.m.
On its first defensive play of the season, the Coronado High football team today surrendered an 80-yard touchdown run.
Then, when the Cougars received the ball back, they immediately fumbled. The ball was picked up by a Huntington Beach defender and returned for a touchdown.
Just like that, Coronado trailed 13-0.
“They were bigger, stronger and faster than us. I’m not going to lie,” coach Brad Talich said. “Coming down here to play, our kids were nervous.”
Coronado quickly settled down, though, scoring 27 unanswered points to take the lead for good in a 41-26 road victory at Huntington Beach to open the season. While there were plenty of miscues to be fixed, going into Southern California and picking up a victory certainly gives the Cougars something to be proud of.
They could have easily accepted defeat, but Talich credits players for knowing they weren’t out of the game. Learning to play until the final whistle is something coaches have preached since spring practice.
“You are never too far behind to be out of it,” Talich said.
Justin Belknap had an interception return of about 25 yards with six minutes remaining to seal the win. Coronado scored another defensive touchdown earlier in the game when multiple players fell on a fumble in the end zone.
Offensively, rushing touchdowns were scored by Nick Trejo, Jordan Patterson and Michael Simpson. And quarterback John Farella threw a touchdown pass to Travis Boman.
Coronado now faces another big-time test — they play Sept. 12 against four-time Sunrise champion Liberty. Judging by today’s outcome, it’s a safe bet the Cougars will enter with confidence.