CHS football in state playoffs – last time was ‘91
A Coronado High football team that's already assured of the best winning percentage in school history will face Rifle in a first-round Division 3A state playoff game Saturday, Nov. 9.
The starting time will be 1 p.m. at Gary Berry Stadium off Constitution Avenue. The winner will become one of eight teams going to the second round. Rifle (8-2) is 11th-ranked among Colorado 3A schools.
Coronado (9-1 and ranked sixth) just missed notching an unbeaten regular season and claiming the South Central League title Nov. 2, losing a 24-20 heartbreaker to top-ranked Discovery Canyon (which became league champion at 9-1).
Despite the loss - and no matter what happens in the next game - no Coronado football team since the high school started in 1970 has ever had such a season. For example, when the Cougars won their seventh in a row to start the year, that was a school record - and they extended it to 9-0 before Discovery Canyon.
Here is some other team history, taken from research by Coronado Assistant Principal Darin Smith, a 1990 graduate (as well as a grid letterman himself) and father of two starters on the current squad:
Coronado's football futility in recent years had become almost legendary.
For example, before the team showed improvement in 2012 and wound up with a .500 record, the school had gone 10 years without winning its Homecoming Game.
(As a side note, the 2013 team made it two Homecoming wins in a row Oct. 5, blasting Mitchell, 50-6.)
Smith said Coronado got a little boost when the state dropped it from 4A to 3A (so it could play schools with enrollments closer to its own), although that happened three years ago (and the school will have to go back up to 4A next year because the District 11's closure of Wasson High has increased Coronado's enrollment). But Smith thinks the “big thing” for the squad is the overall improvement in attitude. “Coach Liz [Bobby Lizarraga] has got the kids working hard,” Smith said. “They expect to win.”
In a separate interview, school athletic director Dave Howard said he was impressed with how the players have learned to take pride in teamwork and playing the game right.
He also pointed out that after all these years Coronado has not suddenly started recruiting blue-chip football players from the region. The squad basically consists of students who just happen to be attending the school; he's not even aware of any players from the new enrollment areas east of I-25.
The team leaders include Smith's sons, seniors Joah and Sam, who are twins. Joah, the quarterback, has passed for 1,117 yards and eight touchdowns, while Sam has been his favorite target with 26 catches and two TDs. The leading runners are Isaah Duvall (996 yards, 10 TDs), Austin Micci (870 yards, nine TDs) and Zeb Foster (289 yards and seven TDs).
Defensive leaders are Foster (108 total tackles and two fumble recoveries), Corbin Bender (5½ sacks) and Devon Baker (five interceptions).
The Cougars have scored a total of 324 points and allowed 77. Until Discovery Canyon, the closest games had been 16-6 over The Classical Academy and 14-0 over Pueblo East.
In past years, no matter how weak Coronado football was, the school kept a tradition of spirit. Smith thinks the grid success has enhanced it this year. Among the students on campus, “it's not like everyone's going Coronado this and that,” he elaborated. “There's just a very positive energy in the building based on these wins.”
Even at the Discovery Canyon game, which was played on that school's home field, “I think there were more fans from our school than from theirs,” Smith said. In addition to school people and football players' families, “A lot of people in the community came out to watch the game.”
Westside Pioneer article