Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008 | 12:15 a.m.
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For Eamon, the score was extra special, as it came against his old team on his old field. Eamon transferred to Del Sol from Coronado prior to the start of the season.
"I've never been in the visitor's locker room once. This was the first time I've seen it," Eamon said. "It was an emotional game, playing against the kids you grew up with since second grade. During the game it was intense, hitting each other every play, but after the game it was just as loving as it used to be."
The Dragons needed every bit of Eamon's efforts, as penalties plagued the offense the entire game. By the final whistle, the Dragons had committed 17 penalties, costing them 122 yards.
"Penalties is the only thing that comes to my head," said Del Sol coach Preston Goroff. "We persevered, we played good defense, but we had a hard time moving the football tonight because of penalties. I don't know, just one of those nights."
To add to the frustration, the Dragons seemed to draw a flag on some big plays. A 45-yard punt return, a 36-yard touchdown run and a 17-yard touchdown run all were called back by penalties.
"We just put ourselves in bad positions all night where it was first and 25, things like that," Goroff said. "Our offense is not really designed to pick up big chunks like that. We're designed to get 10 yards and move the chains. When we get put in those positions facing long yardage, it's not to our advantage."
In a game marked by mistakes on the offensive side, Del Sol relied heavily on its defense, recovering three fumbles and blocking a Cougar field goal attempt.
"They're as powerful a football team that you'll find in this state," said Coronado coach John Mannion. "It is frustrating though, when you're making the mistakes we made with the bad snaps and the dropped balls."
The Cougars got off to a good start when Blake Smith intercepted a pass from Saei Huihui on Del Sol's first possession. The offense sputtered through most of the game and squandered good field position.
With 3:12 remaining in the football game and the Cougars stuck at midfield down by 12, Mannion decided to keep handing the ball off to senior Kenny Lawrence, who had been teasing Coronado fans all game with electric runs that came up just short. The decision by the coaches to keep it in Lawrence's hands paid off, as he darted up the middle for a 51-yard touchdown run that left the Cougars down 12-7. Lawrence finished the game with 90 yards on 10 carries.
"I was talking with my guy upstairs and he said you got to throw the ball, you got to throw the ball," Mannion said. "And I said 'no, we're going to break one,' and we did. Kenny's a time bomb. Anytime he touches the football it can go. He's the most dangerous kid I've seen in a long time."
The Dragons were able to cement the win with a first down on the timeout-less Cougar defense, capped by an intentional safety by Del Sol that ran out the clock.
"We were right there with them the whole game," Mannion said. "I don't care what anybody says -- to see the effort these guys put forth tonight really shows how much heart they have."
In a game so close, it seemed that even the smallest detail could change the outcome. For the Dragons, the fact that its talented halfback was looking for a big night against his old friends may have provided the edge.
"He's a phenomenal football player," Mannion said. "I really wish he would have stayed here. It would have been a fantastic combination with Kenny back there, but that's water under the bridge."