Week 2: Classical Academy Caimans 26, Coronado Islanders 23
The Classical Academy Caimans battled through a penalty-filled marathon and wound up with their first victory of the season when a deflected pass found its way into the arms of senior receiver Brendon Archibeck for a 29-yard touchdown with 11.7 seconds left, capping a comeback win over host Coronado, 26-23, at Niedermeyer Field on Friday night.
It was also the first career head coaching victory for first-year head coach Tim Sherlock, a veteran of the Caimans’ program.
“(Our players) made huge ‘must-have’ plays time and again in the biggest moments,” Sherlock said. “(Coronado) Coach (Kurt) Hines and his staff had us digging for answers all night.”
The Caimans took over late in the game following a fumble by the Islanders.
Classical Academy extended the last-minute drive when quarterback James Duncan completed a 16-yard pass on fourth down to Maximus Brown, who made a diving catch at the marker.
“How about that play by my wideout,” Sherlock said. “My goodness.”
Duncan then completed a 19-yard pass on third down to Brown on another sideline route to stop the clock.
“Our line was giving James enough time to deliver me those conversions,” Brown said. “There was so much momentum behind us, it was a movie.”
The quarterback’s next pass was short of the goal line – intended for his receiver at the 10 – but the 50-50 toss bounced off the shoulder pads of the defender and behind Archibeck’s coverage. The man on the deep route caught a perfect bounce while in stride, covering the last five yards with the ball in his grasp.
“I had a hitch-and-go and knew that is was going to be one of the last plays of the game so I had to give everything that I could to get open on this route,” Archibeck said. “I saw the ball go up and I knew it was in my area so I tried to go up and get it but it got tipped.
“The ball popped up right to me and fell into my arms. It was an incredible experience. I’m glad I could live that moment out with my brothers.”
It almost never got to that point.
The Islanders scored the game’s first touchdown early in the second quarter on a deep 45-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Ash Bibbes to senior receiver James Witthoft.
Classical scored with four-and-a-half minutes left in the second quarter on a 17-yard pass by Duncan to Brown to close the gap to 7-6 at halftime.
Coronado extended the lead to 14-6 on a 10-yard pass from Bibbes to Witthoft, who broke off several tackles inside the 5, as he ran in for the score just a little over midway through the third quarter.
The short Islander scoring drive was set up by a 37-yard punt return to the CA 13 by senior Tyler Buckley
The Caimans answered, however, just 43 seconds later on a third-down pass completion of 52 yards from Duncan to Archibeck for a score to make it 14-12.
Coronado sophomore Aiden Dillehay scored on a 30-yard run just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, giving the hosts a 21-12 lead.
On CA’s next series, Islander senior Jacob Mckanry led the charge for a safety and an 11-point advantage.
Duncan and Archibeck hooked up for a third time on the night with nine minutes remaining to make it a three-point game.
“We play best under pressure,” Duncan said. “Quitting isn’t an option. We’re a family and we play for each other and we did what we do best, and that is to be athletes.”
The Islanders’ defense recorded a fourth-down sack with 4:40 remaining to squash the Caimans’ “first” last-ditch opportunity before turning it back over to the visitors.
Senior Mason Pillsbury had an interception for the Caimans, as did Archibeck.
The Islanders got sacks from Devon Schulte, Jack Weisbrod, and Kai Concepcion.
Classical Academy (1-1) will host La Jolla Country Day at Orange Glen High next Friday at 7.
Meanwhile, Coronado (1-1) travels to face the undefeated El Cajon Valley Braves (2-0) at Priest Field, also on Friday at 7.
Two teams that are making their Prep Pigskin Report season debut will meet on Coronado Island this Friday night with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
The Coronado Islanders hosted their first game on a newly-installed artificial turf at Niedermeyer Field last Friday, defeating Maranatha Christian, 42-6.
This week, the Islanders will host the Classical Academy Caimans, who are searching for their first victory following a 19-18 loss at Mar Vista in the opener.
Coronado senior running back Devon Schulte rushed for three touchdowns, including a pair in the first quarter as the Islanders built a 14-0 lead over the Eagles.
Schulte opened the scoring with a 56-yard scoring run.
Coronado senior quarterback Ash Bibbes had two touchdown passes to captain James Witthoft, including a 53-yard hook up in the second quarter to give the hosts a 21-6 halftime lead.
The Islanders led 28-6 late in the third quarter, as Schulte added a 37-yard score for this third of the night. He finished with 103 yards on the ground.
On defense, Schulte had two of Coronado’s four sacks.
Junior John Rawlins and Witthoft had the other takedowns of the Eagle quarterback.
Bibbes added a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter. He finished with 224 yards of total offense, including 126 through the air.
Coronado had two interceptions against Maranatha Christian, as senior captain Tyler Buckley and sophomore Dylan Noble grabbed picks.
The Islanders’ offensive line has four starters returning from last season in left tackle Jack Weisbrod, captain Kai Concepcion, center Phillip Simpson, and right tackle Edward Hayes.
The Caimans lost a one-point game in the debut of 33-year-old head coach Tim Sherlock, the team’s former offensive coordinator.
Senior quarterback James Duncan passed for three touchdowns last week for CA.
Junior receiver Kelton Howard caught two of the scores, including a 1-yard pass in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead.
Howard added a 20-yard TD reception from Duncan which gave the Caimans a 12-0 lead.
The Mariners rushed for 271 yards against Classical Academy in the contest and came back to take a 19-12 lead.
Duncan threw a short pass to senior Luke Mizel, who turned the completion into a 40-yard touchdown, making it a one-point game, but the conversion failed.
Senior Maximus Brown had a 28-yard reception for CA.
The Caimans also recorded an interception against Mar Vista.
Tune in to the Prep Pigskin Report this Friday at 11 p.m. to find out of coach Kurt Hines and the Coronado Islanders will improve to 2-0, or will the Caimans present Sherlock with his first victory?