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Coronado rusty, but manages to get past Basic

Some football coaches like bye weeks, and others would rather have their players on the field.

Coronado coach Fred Biletnikoff, Jr. feared his squad would come out lethargic Friday following an opening-round playoff bye, and he was right.

The Sky League champion Cougars struggled offensively, but still managed to pull off a 13-0 home victory over Basic in their Class 4A state quarterfinal game.

Running back Chris Avila did his part to help the Coronado offense, rushing 27 times for 227 yards and scoring the Cougars’ only touchdown.

“That bye didn’t do us any favors,” said Biletnikoff, whose team will face Silverado in next week’s semifinal game. “We tried to prepare the best we could, but (the Wolves) are a good football team and we were a little rusty. We were sitting on pins and needles the whole time.”

Though Coronado (7-2) outgained Basic 349 yards to 129, the Cougars struggled to find the end zone, even at the end of sustained drives. That frustration came to a momentary pause late in the first quarter when Avila plunged up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown to give his team a 7-0 lead.

Neither team mounted a serious threat in the second quarter, and the Cougars took a seven-point lead into halftime.

But Biletnikoff’s defense did not appear rusty, holding Basic to 28 second-half yards and squelching a 13-play Basic drive that yielded no points.

“I think our defense is one of the best in (Class 4A),” Biletnikoff said. “They’ve kind of fed off each other all year long.”

Coronado did manage to get back on the board with second-half field goals of 21 and 32 yards by James Frasure to make it 13-0.

Basic (5-5) squandered its only real opportunity to score when a potential touchdown pass was dropped in the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Wolves starting quarterback Damian Gramajo was knocked out of the game shortly thereafter, and the Cougars cruised through the final minutes.

Though Biletnikoff was frustrated with his offense’s inability to score, he credited Avila for the points the Cougars were able to manufacture.

“If not for the COVID year, his rushing stats wouldn’t be broken for a long, long time,” Biletnikoff said. “That’s why he’s the team captain.”

Coronado quarterback Joshua Andrade completed 5 of 13 passes for 61 yards, adding 41 rushing yards on seven carries.

Tre McAllister logged 40 yards on eight carries to lead the Wolves.

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