On a night when high winds hampered the passing game and special teams play, Del Sol had to battle its own issues Friday to hold off host Coronado, 12-7.
The fifth-ranked Dragons (6-1, 3-0) had three turnovers and committed 16 penalties, two of which resulted in touchdown runs being called back.
“We just have to get rid of the flags and the mistakes,” said a relieved Del Sol coach Preston Goroff. “But I give Coronado a lot of credit. They really hung tough with us.”
Dragons running back Derek Eamon, a Coronado transfer, scored on a 7-yard run late in the second quarter to give Del Sol a 6-0 halftime lead. Eamon finished the game with 105 rushing yards on 20 carries against his former team.
Del Sol’s punishing defense limited Coronado (2-5, 0-4) to just 23 first-half yards. But the Cougars had bigger problems, committing three turnovers, including a controversial fumble early in the fourth quarter on the Del Sol 30-yard line. In what looked to be an incomplete forward shovel pass from Cougar quarterback Dane Cooper to tailback Marcus Garcia, referees ruled that the play was a fumble. Coach John Mannion stormed on the field in protest of the call, and eventually spent his team’s final timeout while arguing with officials.
The lost timeout turned out to be crucial late in the game. The Cougars closed the margin to 12-7 on a 52-yard run by senior tailback Kenny Lawrence with 3:12 left in the game.
After failing to convert an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, Coronado was unable to force the Dragons to punt the ball due to the lack of timeouts. The game ended on a fourth-and-8 with Del Sol’s punter scrambling 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage as the game’s final seconds ticked away.
Del Sol quarterback Saei Huihui hit fullback Jon Kirschbaum on a 6-yard TD pass with 2:17 to go in the third quarter, extending the lead to 12-0. The fourth-and-goal TD pass capped a 13 play, 72 yard scoring drive for the Dragons.
Despite the loss, Mannion, who opened Del Sol and had coached many of the opposing players, was emotional after the game.
“Del Sol is one of the most physical, toughest teams in the city. We aren’t really even big enough to compete with them but we showed we have a lot of heart. This was a big game for us for the future.”