Last season The Classical Academy went onto Coronado's home field and embarrassed the Cougars to the tune of 42-7. Coronado returned the favor Thursday night with a bruising 16-6 win in front of the Titans' home crowd.
The Cougars are 2-0 for the first time in a long time. Their defense was able to shut down one of the premier offenses in 3A, and the offense - despite several miscues - did enough to avenge last year's loss.
"All game we were getting off the ball on the offensive line and we kept our pads down," Coronado offensive coordinator Corey Anderson said. "Our running backs finished every run all night. The line would get them 4 yards and then they'd take the next 16."
The Cougars rushed for 280 yards, led by Isaah Duvall's 151 yards on 19 carries. On the second offensive drive for Coronado, Duvall broke a 63-yard touchdown run on the last play of the first quarter. After a successful 2-point conversion it was 8-0.
Coronado would then force a three-and-out and move the ball 63 yards quickly, capping the five-play drive with a 37-yard scoring strike from quarterback Joah Smith to Antwan Outlaw. The Cougars would once again successfully go for two and take a 16-0 lead, which they took to the half.
"My line took care of business tonight and they pushed until we got first downs," said Duvall, who also plays free safety on defense. "This win means a lot and it was one of the biggest games of the season. We fed off that bad loss last season and wanted to come back harder than ever."
The scoreboard showed a 10-point victory, but the stat sheet won't reveal how close Coronado was to putting up many more points.
On the opening drive of the game, Coronado went 78 yards with ease before fumbling into the end zone and giving TCA a reprieve. Then, still leading 16-0, Smith threw a bad pass into the end zone, which was intercepted at the end of the third quarter. The Cougars would fumble into the end zone once more, with two minutes left in the game.
"We have to quit these little mistakes that held us back from scoring touchdowns; the scoreboard should've been completely different," said Smith, who threw for 109 yards. "We have to eliminate errors inside the 5-yard line. But when our defense plays like they did tonight, they make it easy to play offense for us."
TCA's lone score came with 10:30 left in the fourth quarter when Jantzen Ryals hit Peter Troupe for a 51-yard touchdown. Other than that, it was ugly for the Titans' offense, which tallied only 122 total yards.
"The bottom line is about 40 percent of our plays weren't executed correctly, and you can't win doing that," Ryals said. "This is a lesson learned and it will light a fire under our butts. But give Coronado credit because they out-toughed us and they called a lot of good defensive plays."