For one last time this season, the Coronado High School football team stepped onto a field drenched in the glow of giant floodlights.
Those Friday Night Lights hit a little differently in the November air, a tell tale sign of an extended season.
Coronado, seeded 11th in the CIF San Diego Division IV playoffs, took on sixth-seeded Bonita Vista and lost 35-0 in the first round of the playoffs.
Quick scores by Bonita Vista
Coronado (3-8) held off Bonita Vista’s strong offense until 8:15 was left in the second quarter when senior running back Caden Ada-tannehill put the first six points on the board. He then rushed for another touchdown just over 1 minute later following an interception that put Bonita Vista on the 1-yard line.
Bonita Vista’s Julian Cota, a senior, scored one more time 28.5 seconds before half, pushing the score to 21-0.
“Being down that much at half can seem defeating, but I know with the guys around us and the team that we had this year, we all just lean on each other when it gets hard,” said senior Graham Bower, a two-way player at free safety and quarterback/slotback.
Head coach Kurt Hines said he was proud of the team for playing their hearts out.
‘Had a chance’
Bonita Vista scored two more times in the third quarter, pushing the score to 35-0.
The Islanders shutout Bonita Vista in the fourth quarter, but Coronado was unable to score throughout the game.
“We knew they were a lot bigger than us, but we had a chance…We just couldn’t get anything going.”-Head Coach Kurt Hines.
“We knew they were a lot bigger than us, but we had a chance,” Coach Kurt Hines said. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively or defensively.”
Islanders losing 11 seniors
The Islanders are losing 11 seniors, including key contributors Luca Salata, an offensive lineman and inside linebacker, and Jack Delcore, a wide receiver and inside linebacker who averaged 28.3 receiving yards per game and 5.2 tackles.
The team will also be losing Bower, first on the leaderboard with 38.5 receiving yards per game, 39.8 rushing yards per game, seven total touchdowns and 8.5 tackles per game.
Hines said Bower consistently gave everything he had, and was key in Friday’s game.
“Obviously it wasn’t the outcome we wanted…We had no quit, so that’s what I think matters the most,” Bower said.
Young team returns key players next year
Bower and the other seniors are leaving Coronado in the hands of a young team, including sophomores Benjamin Roberts and Trey Arnold and juniors Cable Fledderjohn and Landon Sutherland.
Sutherland, a running back and inside linebacker, repeatedly pushed through Bonita Vista’s defense in Friday’s game.
“It sucks as a junior watching the seniors go away,” Sutherland said. “This season’s probably been the best season I’ve ever had for football; I’m just happy to be out there with them, having fun.”
The end of the game brought with it emotion, as the team said goodbye to their seniors.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team, and having the coaching staff and players around me just to support me throughout my entire four years,” Bower said. “No matter how hard it got, they were always there for me, so I love and appreciate all of them.”
Hine’s echoed that sentiment, reiterating his appreciation for the team and the seniors specifically, with tears in his eyes.
“I’m just proud of them,” Hines said. “I’m heartbroken for our seniors; it wasn’t the season we wanted for our seniors. But they didn’t quit. Not everyone in the world sees this, but what they overcame this year, and what they kept fighting for is something we’ve got to hold on to.”