Monday, April 15, 2024

Islanders Edge Central Union in First Round of CIF Football Playoffs

Briley Knight hands off to Caleb Evans during Thursday’s first round play-off game

Coronado Varsity Football, seeded 6th in the CIF Division IV Playoffs, hosted the Central Union Spartans Thursday night.  The Islanders (9-2), won the Central League, but knew they would have a battle on their hands as they had to play without their top rusher, Daniel Komoroski.  Coronado received the opening kickoff, but were stopped and forced to punt. The Islander defense held tight against Central’s running quarterback, Ricky Guzman (14 carries for 80 yards) and soon after the home team was marching down field. Coronado’s running attack was led by quarterback Briley Knight and Caleb Evans.  With 4:21 left in the first quarter, Evans took a draw play up the middle for a 20 yard touchdown as the Islanders grabbed an early 7-0 lead.

The Spartans came right back as Guzman broke off a 19 yard run putting the ball into Islander territory.  Another Guzman scamper of 20 yards had Central in the Red Zone.  On third and goal from the 3, Nick Ramirez plowed his way into the end zone to tie the score at 7-7.

On Coronado’s first play from scrimmage, the islanders fumbled and Central recovered on the 15 yard line.  The Islanders defense swarmed Guzman twice.  On third down from the 10, Caleb Evans shed blockers and dropped the Spartan running back for a 5 yard loss. Central had to settle for a field goal and the lead 10-7.

After trading punts, the Islanders mounted another balanced drive with Caleb Evans finding running room up the middle followed by a 19 yard swing pass to Braeden Laughlin.  The Central defense stiffened bringing up 4th and 1 near midfield.  It was then that Briley Knight faked a punt, scrambled to his right, eeking out the yard for a first down keeping the drive alive.  The next play was a fabulously executed flea-flicker with Knight hitting wideout Joe Byrne on a 43 yard pass reception down to the 1 yard line.

From there, Braeden Laughlin pushed into end zone to put the Islanders back in front 14-10 with 3:46 to go in the half.

In the second half the Islanders had some trouble holding onto the ball as they lost two more fumbles.  Despite some big tackles by #55 Josh Blila, Central managed to pound the ball on the ground with Guzman scoring a go ahead touchdown from 7 yards out with 10 minutes left in the game.

Coronado never wavered.  The defense forced a fumble of their own and when Alex Cheever recovered on the Islander 39 yard line, the Islanders were ready to make Central Union pay.  Briley Knight, who scrambled all night long, kept to the script, frustrating the Spartan defenders time and again.  On 4th and 3 from the Spartan 32 yard line, the game (and the season) was on Knight’s shoulders.  He took the direct snap from the shotgun, rolled to his left and deftly picked up the biggest first down of the season.

A couple of plays later from the 19 yard line, Knight faked a pitch to the right, rolled to his left bringing the defense to him and then hit Kyle Gilbert in the corner of the end zone for the game winning touchdown.  Islanders 20, Central Union 17.

Briley Knight finished the game with 12 carries for 108 yards.  He also completed 7 of 14 passes for 102 yards.  Caleb Evans rushed 11 times for 68 yards.  The Islanders move on to the 2nd round and will face the 3rd seeded Sultans from Santana High School at Santana on November 18th at 7pm.

UPDATE: Coronado lost to Santana in the quarter finals on November 18.

Ken Bryan
Ken Bryan
Ken was born and raised in Coronado and graduated CHS in 1981. He and wife Ann Marie have three exceptional, grown children, with only one left in college. Ken enjoys all sports, entertaining, cooking and photography. He very rarely can play ball anymore, so is happy to cover the local sports scene.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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