Offense comes together, lifts Aztecs to first season win


Photo by Maria Martin

Written by Eddie Calrow, Online Sports Editor

The Corona del Sol Aztecs hung on to defeat the La Joya Community High School Lobos, 30-14, in their first road game, and win, of the 2016 season.

The Lobos forced a three-and-out on the Aztecs’ first drive, but junior Brandon Gavel intercepted the Lobos’ first play from scrimmage to get the possession back for Corona. The Aztecs fumble the ball on the one-yard line and the Lobos recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

On the same drive, the La Joya Community Lobos fumbled the football, giving up possession to the Aztecs. Corona del Sol failed to convert a fourth down and the Lobos got the ball back, with the score still tied at zero early in the second quarter.

With eight minutes to go in the first half, senior running back Cameron Brice broke the stalemate and blasted down the field for a 60-yard touchdown, Aztecs go up 7-0 with 6:22 left in the half.

After a Lobos punt, Corona regained control of the ball at its own 26-yard line. Driving down the field, senior quarterback Austin Helt sent a beautiful pass to senior Griffin Baker for the score. Aztecs were up 14-0 going into halftime.

Early into the second half, the Lobos were forced to punt from their own end zone. The Lobos’ punter stepped out of the field of play, which resulted in an Aztec safety and two points. Aztecs tacked on another score, 16-0, with 7:27 left in the third quarter. Senior Jacob Goodwin returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Extra point good. The Aztecs extended their lead to 23-0.

After a series of three-and-outs, the Aztecs partially blocked a Lobo punt, resulting in a Corona drive starting from the Lobo 20-yard line. Shortly thereafter, Helt lofted a pass to senior running back Jalen Bryant for the score. The Aztecs went up 30-0 after the extra point.

Backup quarterback Tim Martin entered the game for the Aztecs and threw an interception which resulted in a La Joya touchdown on the next play Lobos failed to convert the 2-point conversion and broke zero with the Aztecs still up 30-6 with 7:27 remaining in the game.

After a sloppy kickoff reception, the Aztecs fumbled the ball and La Joya recovered on the Aztecs’ 45-yard line. A few plays later, the Lobos scored another touchdown and this time were successful in the 2-point conversion. Aztecs up 30-14 with 2:30 to go in the game.

After an interception and defensive stop, the Aztecs officially grabbed the win, 30-14, over La Joya.

Head Coach Richard Mettlach still believes the performance was not up to par.

“We have got to clean up the mistakes,” Mettlach said. “We’re getting better, we’re better than we were a week ago, but we have a lot of things to clean up.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Pollak shares the same idea about Corona football: it needs to be cleaned up.

“We did a lot of good things offensively,” Pollak said. “We’re moving the ball, which is something we struggled with last week. We are hurting ourselves a little bit, a lot of penalties that we have to get cleaned up, but some guys showed some things that we have been waiting to see on the field.”

Helt also felt the game play could be tidied up a bit.

“I felt we were a lot more efficient in the run game and it really opened up the passing lanes,” Helt said. “We just have to keep the efficiency going. The run game can always get better and I can always make better passes, better reads.”

This is just game number two for the Aztecs, so there is plenty of time for improvements to be made. With eight games left in the regular season, the intensity needs to stay where it is.

“Well the schedule doesn’t get any easier from here,” Pollak said. “A lot of the small detail stuff that the guys are supposed to be on top of, we have to do our job and do it well because we have some big time opponents coming up.”

The Aztecs face Mesa Mountain View at home on Sept. 2.