Outlook: If but for a play here or a mathematical tweak there, the Coronado football program may be looking at a still-active eight-year playoff streak. Instead, the Dons have sat home during the postseason the past two years, each time finishing No. 17 in the power points of a 16-team field. It’s a driving force at the school, as the seniors still remember the streak when they were freshmen, and now want to start a new one.
“We had a nice little run going,” coach B.J. Pasquel said. “They’d like to start that streak again. Playoffs were the expectation and that’s where we want to get it back to.”
The schedule is friendlier this year. Coronado has moved down to Division IV because of declining enrollment, but in the past few years had still regularly played teams like Saguaro and Arcadia. Now Pasquel feels like his team is on equal footing.
“That’s all you ask,” he said. “You want to have a chance each Friday night.”
Arturo Bastidas was one of the team’s better defensive players in 2012 and will move to quarterback. The running game has potential, led by Antonio Sutherland, who rushed for 461 yards and three touchdowns a season ago.
The defense should be solid, led by Ruben Correa, who amassed 70 tackles last year. Alex Guerrero and Jacob Warren are also expected to make a positive impact.
“We’ve got a pretty good core,” Pasquel said. “We have three-to-four three-year varsity guys. We feel like we’ve got a good mix of young guys. We’re anxious to see what we have.”
Division IV, Section IV
Coach: B.J. Pasquel
Last year’s record: 4-6, missed Division IV postseason
Returning Starters: 7 on offense/6 on defense
Top returners: RB Antonio Sutherland (78 att., 461 yards, 3 TD); DB Ruben Correa (70 tackles, sack, INT); DL Carlos Diaz (39 tackles, 3 sacks, INT); QB/DB Arturo Bastidas (39 tackles).
Aug. 30 vs. Fountain Hills; Sept. 6 vs. Glendale; Sept. 13 at Estrella Foothills; Sept. 20 vs. Hayden; Sept. 27 at Seton Catholic; Oct. 4 vs. Coolidge; Oct. 11 at Chino Valley; Oct. 18 vs. Cortez; Oct. 25 at Florence; Nov. 1 at Combs.
Sept. 27 at Seton Catholic: The Sentinels benefitted greatly when they dropped down to Division IV, winning the state championship last season. Coronado has similarly made the drop but hasn’t found as much success. The Dons won’t be favored to win this game, but it would be encouraging to keep it close.
Oct. 25 at Florence: Coronado has missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins each of the past two years. The Dons hope they are already comfortably in by this point in the schedule, but it could be a crucial game for their hopes.