By Dave Gordon
The pomp and circumstance of homecoming night at Coahulla Creek High School was quickly doused by the legs of sophomore quarterback Cody Long.
Long ran for five touchdowns, gaining 188 yards on 23 carries, leading the Sonoraville Phoenix (1-3) to its first win of the season in a 41-16 romp over the Colts (1-3) in the first Region 5-3A matchup for both teams.
Running back Andrew Slaton added the other touchdown for the Phoenix, totaling 109 yards on 14 carries.
The final score didn’t tell the whole story however, as the Colts only trailed 13-9 at the half, and 7-6 after the first quarter.
The visitors struck quickly, as Long ran the lead-option to perfection. Long faked to teammate Slaton on three of the team’s first six plays, keeping it for runs of 12, 11 and a 21-yard touchdown run up the middle. The extra point put Sonoraville ahead 7-0 with 10:13 left in the first quarter.
Late in the first quarter after two stalled possessions, quarterback Blaine Williams found wide receiver Levi Wilson down the right sideline for a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut the Phoenix lead to 7-6.
A play later, a perfectly executed onside kick by kicker Irwin Rivera would get the ball back for the home team. Eight plays later, Rivera would again use his leg to edge the Colts back into the lead 9-7 with a 34-yard field goal just minutes into the second quarter.
However, the Colts couldn’t find an answer for Long all night. The quarterback closed out the first half with a 10-yard touchdown run up the middle of the defense, his second of the night to put Sonoraville back in the lead, 13-9.
Long added two more touchdown runs in the third, and one early in the fourth.
Sonoraville coach Roger Gentry was impressed with the play of his young quarterback, as well as the preparation of his team during the week.
“Our kids came out and practiced hard this week. They didn’t act like an 0-3 team,” Gentry said. “I knew coming up here on the bus that they were ready to play. (Long) did great tonight, really filled some shoes and moved the offense well.”
Colts coach Jared Hamlin searched for positives after watching his defense give up 28 second half points.
“You can’t get upfield. It’s tough when the keep running (the same play),” Hamlin said. “We knew what we had to be aware of. We moved the ball well at first, and at times defensively we did some good things. It’s just a tough one to lose.”
Michael Ward had the other late touchdown for the Colts, a 57-yard reception from Williams with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.