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June 16, 2019

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Coronado ends losing streak with overtime win

Coronado at Foothill

Amanda Finnegan

The Coronado Cougars celebrate after their 20-13 victory over Foothill in overtime Thursday night.

Coronado at Foothill

The Coronado defense stops the Foothill Falcons during the first quarter Thursday night. Launch slideshow »

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Coronado (3-8) broke a seven-game losing streak with an overtime 20-13 victory over Foothill (4-6) Thursday night and proved to itself one thing - Rudy Ruettiger's got nothing on the Cougars.

"We showed a little 12-minute video before the game on Rudy about never giving up on your dreams," Cougars coach John Mannion said. "And it resonated and they came out and played hard. With all the little mistakes we've been making, I said now would be a good time to go out there and learn how to win."

If any team needed to finish the season in dramatic fashion it was the last-place Cougars. After starting the season with two wins, the team came into Thursday's game with no league wins and seven straight losses. The win to finish the season helped erase a bit of the sour taste from that losing stretch.

"We told these guys that this is the first game of next year, this is the start of next year right here," Mannion said. "And we're losing some seniors but we wanted these seniors to be able to look themselves in the mirror tomorrow and say we went out right, we left everything on the field."

The Cougars didn't make it easy on themselves, fumbling the ball on the opening kickoff and giving up a touchdown two minutes into the game. They also committed 10 team penalties, including two for unsportsmanlike conduct. When the Falcons tied the game at 13 late in the fourth quarter but missed the extra point to take the lead, the Cougars gave them another shot at it with a roughing the kicker penalty. Luckily for Coronado, after a Foothill penalty that negated a successful attempt, the Falcons missed again.

After the close call, the Cougars wasted no time taking care of business in overtime, sending Dane Cooper to the end zone on a quarterback keeper on the first play. In addition to scoring the overtime touchdown, Cooper kicked two field goals and completed 14 of 28 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown to receiver Blake Riley.

"I've always believed in this team and I know we could have played like this all year," Cooper said. "We've had this all year. We've had the talent and the receivers to make this happen. I'm sad the season is ending. I've loved high school football."

Foothill also made its own mistakes in the loss, committing costly penalties and fumbling the ball on its own 20-yard line, setting up a Cougars touchdown in the third quarter.

The Falcons had a last chance to tie the game after Cooper's touchdown but were stopped on fourth down from the 1-yard line. Sophomore Connor Afoa, who rushed for 60 yards and a touchdown all in the fourth quarter, tried to take it off the edge of the line but was stopped just short.

"They had started packing the middle so we tried to get Connor going off the outside. They got the stop," Falcons coach Marty Redmond said. "You can't win turning the ball over and committing penalties the way we did. The execution wasn't there tonight."

While Foothill will go on to face Las Vegas in the first round of the playoffs, it was Coronado that celebrated as though its season wasn't over on the Falcons' field.

"Movies, this is movies stuff," Mannion said. "It's a storybook ending for us."

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