Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013 | 12:13 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer glance back at last week's action, which included three of the best games of the year. Ensuing questions include debating the Sunrise Region's favorite, Bishop Gorman's vulnerability and Foothill's potential.
On paper, there is no question: Cofer was the star of the game.
Talk with the senior quarterback, however, or Cougars’ coach Brad Talich, and they’ll be first to confirm he isn’t a one-man show. While Jackson Cofer accounted for all of the Coronado points, it was the Cougars’ defense that deserves most of the credit for the win.
Foothill entered scoring 40 points a game and quarterback Drew Doxtator is one of the area’s best signal callers. Yet, Coronado held Foothill scoreless until seconds remained in the first half, when the Falcons kicked a short field goal.
Doxtator was sacked, forced to pass early and rushed most of the night. While he passed for three second-half touchdowns and more than 300 yards, the damage was long done. The Coronado defense won this game.
“Preparation was the key. That is a great quarterback and they score a lot of points,” Coronado coach Brad Talich said. “You have to hand it to our defensive staff. We had a good game plan and we executed. We had some mistakes, but we executed what we planned on doing.”
Cofer rushed for more than 200 yards, scoring on runs of 37, 90, 2 and 35 yards. He completed 14 of 24 passes for 149 yards and a 54-yard touchdown pass to Michael Simpson for a 7-0 Coronado lead with 8:13 to play in the second quarter. He also caught a pass for 16 yards.
So, short of driving the team bus to Foothill, Cofer was a one-man wrecking crew.
“Jackson Cofer is a great athlete,” Talich said. “Our offensive line is starting to mesh a little bit. The things we are doing offensively, it just took some time for executing with the kids and gelling together. The offensive line did a great job blocking for Jackson tonight.”
Cofer’s 90-yard touchdown run with 7:17 to play in the third quarter gave Coronado a 21-3 advantage, which, with how the Coronado defense was playing, seemed like a safe lead.
But Doxtator got hot.
He connected with Ian Ellis for a 7-yard scoring strike with 2:33 to play in the third quarter. Then, after Foothill forced and recovered a fumble on the kickoff, Doxtator hooked up with Bryce Broadwell for a 15-yard touchdown. Within a blink of an eye, Coronado’s convincing lead turned into a small 21-18 advantage with an entire quarter remaining.
Cofer and Doxtator took turns leading their teams to touchdowns, with Foothill striking second on a 45-yard touchdown from Doxtator to Broadwell to trim the deficit to 28-25 with four minutes remaining.
After a three-and-out forced Coronado to punt, Foothill had the ball near midfield with plenty of time to win the game.
Enter the Coronado defense — again.
The Cougars continued to apply pressure to Doxtator, forcing him to fumble on a sack. The fumble was recovered by Coronado’s Quinton Eissler with 1:52 to play. A few plays later, Cofer scored his fifth touchdown for the final margin of victory.
“We were just playing hard all four quarters,” Cofer said. “They are a great team over there. With a team like that you have to grind and find the openings.”
Coronado advanced to the state semifinals last season, but graduated most of its key performers from that team. The Cougars are loaded with talented juniors and sophomores and expected to contend next year.
Just don’t tell that to the senior Cofer. The way he played Friday, Coronado might again be a force in the postseason. The win puts Coronado (3-4 overall, 2-1 Southeast) in the driver’s seat to host a home playoff game next month, likely as the No. 2 seed from the Southeast League.
“The sky is the limit for us right now,” Cofer said. “Every week we get better and better. It shows we can hang with the best of them. Once we got rolling (tonight), it was tough to stop us.”
Added Talich, “We are a young team, very young. I knew we would get better and better. The kids believe. We are just trying to build.”