La Jolla High Vikings 16, Coronado Islanders 6
On a beautiful night, with a beautiful sunset as a picture-perfect backdrop at La Jolla High School, the Vikings finally won a game at their new athletic complex Friday night beating the visiting Islanders of Coronado 16-6. “It’s good to win. It’s better to win on your home field,” says La Jolla Head Coach Matt Morrison.
The final score might say this game was closer than it really appeared to be. The Vikings (2-2) used a consistent balance through the air and on the ground offensively to chew clock in both halves, and being forced to multiple three and outs throughout the game, Coronado (2-2) quarterback Briley Knight and the Islanders stumbled all night long. The proof was in the pudding early in the second quarter. After a two yard touchdown run by Alex Dockery, La Jolla led 7-0. After a three and out by the Islanders, the Vikings were threatening inside the red zone again before a series of penalties forced them to punt. On the first play of Coronado’s ensuing possession, Knight took a shotgun snap from his own ten yard line. Almost immediately feeling pressure from his left side, Knight tried to scramble. Unable to evade the pressure from Vikings defensive end Andrew Mitchell, Knight appeared to throw the ball straight up in the air. La Jolla linebacker Jesse Pacleb was in the right place at the right time to catch it in the end zone for another Vikings touchdown.
Coronado would show fight just before halftime, as the Islanders ran a flea flicker from their own 45 yard line, Knight launching to a wide open Joe Byrne for a 55 yard touchdown pass with under 30 seconds in the second quarter. However, the Vikings blocked their PAT and sustained momentum throughout the second half. La Jolla quarterback Cole Dimich played his most consistent game of the season, and did it both with his arm and his legs. Leading the Vikings in rushing on the night (16 carries, 65 yards), Dimich was strong all night long, and seemed to get better as the game progressed. “It’s nice to have the ability to run with your quarterback,” said Morrison. “I actually think it helps ‘get him into the game’ from a physical standpoint as well. He’s a tough kid. He can take some hits.” It didn’t affect Dimich passing (15/24, 150yds) as he constantly found Mitchell from the tight end position and wide receiver Tanner Watson on short patterns in space. This balance on offense helped the Vikings sustain three drives of over six minutes, including their first scoring drive lasting almost nine minutes. However, La Jolla was only 60% inside the red zone, including a short 20 yard chip-shot field goal by kicker Kenny Hayden. When asked about his teams success inside the twenty, Morrison said, “We were not very sharp tonight inside. We need to finish with touchdowns.”
The Vikings will certainly need to finish with touchdowns, and a lot of them, next week as they host one of the best teams in San Diego, the Mater Dei Crusaders (2-1). As for Coronado, they had back to the island for a matchup with the Scots from Vincent Memorial (2-2).
PREVIEW: La Jolla High (1-2) is still looking for their first victory on their new turf field this season, as they host the Islanders of Coronado (2-1) on Friday night at 6:30pm. The Vikings are hoping the saying, “Third time’s the charm” proves right as they have fell short the previous two weeks to visiting La Jolla Country Day and Hilltop respectively. In order for that to happen, however, the Vikings need to protect the ball on offense, and play consistent defense for four quarters, not just one half. Two weeks ago versus Hilltop, La Jolla looked to be in a solid position to walk away with a win before a series of turnovers proved to be their downfall. Last Friday, it was a tale of two halves defensively, keeping it close for the first two quarters before allowing numerous big plays in the second half. Knowing it’s often not WHO you play, but rather HOW you play, Coach Matt Morrison and the Vikings will look to get better each and every day leading up to Friday Night.
As for Coronado, this week is nothing short of a statement game for the Islanders. Boasting a record of 2-1 through three weeks of the season, their toughest competition thus far was to Village Christian in Sun Valley, CA who handled Coronado 26-12. The two wins for the Islanders are against Escondido Charter and San Ysidro, not necessarily powerhouses in San Diego High School Football. Quarterback Briley Knight doesn’t have numbers that jump off the stat sheet, but a starter since his Sophomore year, he has extreme command of the offense and provides exemplary leadership to his team. And if Coronado and running back Dan Komorowski can be as productive on the ground as they were last week, Komorowski in particular amassing 112 yards, and three touchdowns on only six carries, Knight won’t have any need to air it out. On defense, linebackers Hugo Shirey and Wyatt Montague lead the way averaging 10 tackles per game between the two.
I would imagine this game could come down to whoever has the ball last, and potentially which defense can make a bigger stand, but there is only one way to find out! Kickoff is at 6:30pm from La Jolla High School, and as always, tune into the Prep Pigskin Report on KUSI at 10:30pm for all the highlights!