Foothill staged a clinic in overcoming self-inflicted adversity Friday against visiting Coronado.
The Falcons committed three turnovers and were flagged for seven penalties in the first half alone, yet still managed to take a 7-3 lead into the locker room.
Then after halftime, while some of the gaffs continued — Foothill finished with 17 accepted penalties and four turnovers — the Falcons prevailed behind a 20-point third quarter and conquered the Cougars, 27-9 in the Southeast League opener for both teams.
Running back Blake Wilson, who led the Foothill offense with 135 yards rushing on 30 carries, said the Falcons (3-2, 1-0 Southeast) understood at halftime that it was their own miscues that slowed them down in the first half.
“The first half we started out really slow and really sloppy. We just needed to pick it up,” Wilson said. “Once we picked it up, we got the momentum going. When we got the momentum going, it was great.”
The Falcons started getting things rolling on the first drive of the second half, which was capped off by Jordan Wilson lofting a 15-yard pass to a wide open Brandon Hargis at the goal line to push the lead to 14-3.
Then the big momentum swing came for Foothill just over a minute later, when Justin Dunlap intercepted a Cougar pass at the 22-yard line and darted to the end zone to put the Falcons in control 21-3 with 7:23 left in the third quarter.
“I just read the tight end on the seam, so I was running with him. Then I read the quarterback’s eyes as he was throwing the out, broke on the out and it was easy from there,” Dunlap said. “In the second half we really settled in. We are more of a second half team. Once we get stuff figured out and start to go, we start to really click as a unit.”
The Falcons defense, meanwhile, kept the offense for Coronado (2-3, 1-1) one-dimensional, holding the Cougars to 12 rushing yards for the game.
Dylan Mueller added a 10-yard TD run on a quarterback keeper that extended the third-quarter lead to 27-3 for Foothill, which finished with 232 rushing yards for the game.
However, with both teams combining for 31 accepted penalties for 302 yards, neither team could find much flow on either side of the ball. Still, the Falcons were grateful to get the win with all the adversity.
“They really hurt us,” Blake Wilson said. “We would get momentum going, and get a penalty. …
“(But) it’s a great feeling when you have so much adversity against you and you are still able to overcome that. That in itself is a win. Being able to overcome adversity like that shows the kind of heart a team has. And I think that’s something Foothill will never lack is having heart.”