It wasn't a pretty win. But at this juncture in the season, the Coronado football team will take it.
Despite coughing up four turnovers, the Cougars still convincingly beat Sand Creek 34-9 Friday night at Garry Berry Stadium - thanks to a strong running attack and an even stronger defensive performance. Coronado maintained control of the nonconference game with a 20-0 halftime lead, but didn't put it away until late.
Nonetheless, the Cougars improved to 2-1 in the young season while Sand Creek remained winless at 0-3.
"Four turnovers is not what we do," said Coronado senior quarterback Toby Smith, who completed 16 of 22 passes for 213 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. "But it's still a good win."
The Cougars struck first.
Smith engineered a five-play, 77-yard drive with three completed passes on the team's second possession.
It was capped off by a stellar 41-yard touchdown run from Troy Renner with three minutes left in the first quarter as the junior running back went on to finish with 160 yards on 22 rushes.
It was only the beginning, thanks to the duo of Smith and senior tight end Brock Stinson. They connected on touchdowns of 10 and 26 yards in the second quarter, putting the Cougars comfortably ahead 20-0.
They were coming off another impressive effort, in which they scored 50 points in a loss to Skyline of Longmont. It looked like the Cougars could put up a big-scoring game once again.
Not so fast.
The Scorpions scored early in the third after senior quarterback Damon Murdock connected with senior AJ Davis on a 30-yard pass. After a missed extra-point attempt, Sand Creek looked capable of a comeback.
But then, senior running back Jordan Evans marched in two short second-half touchdown runs. His second one - with 7:40 left - put the game out of reach at 34-6.
With seconds left, Sand Creek kicker Jesse Bridge nailed a 25-yard field goal. By then, the Cougars knew they locked in their second win this season.
"We're never really comfortable, we always want to keep our foot on their throats and keep going," Evans said. "We always want to be respectful but we're never comfortable with a lead."
The Coronado defense also put up a stellar showing. It picked two passes, kept the Scorpions from scoring most of the night and limited their running game to under 50 total yards.