Mistakes down the stretch proving to be Aztecs’ Achilles heel

If the Corona del Sol Aztecs football team is to reverse its fortunes, head coach Zane Zamenski says they’ll have to work harder before they can experience a breakthrough.

After starting the season with a 1-0 record, the Aztecs lost five straight games, the worst a 50-0 loss to the Mountain View Toros Oct. 1 at Hascall Henshaw Stadium.

Mistakes down the stretch have been the Aztecs’ Achilles heel. Locked in a scoreless tie, Corona opened the door for Mountain View by committing three second-quarter turnovers. The Aztecs were intercepted twice and lost a fumble.

All three turnovers were converted into Toro touchdowns. By halftime the Aztecs were behind 29-0 and all momentum had vanished.

Mountain View began the scoring with a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Jeremy Boatwright with 7:56 remaining in the second. The Toros then collected two interceptions, resulting in a 10-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard touchdown pass from Boatwright.

With the score 23-0 with 1:40 remaining in the half, the Aztecs fumbled the football and the Toros extended their lead to 29 on a 40-yard touchdown pass by Boatwright right before the half.

“The second quarter was ultimately the story,” Zamenski said. “And the turnovers were capitalized by the Toros. It just kind of snowballed.”

Despite a 1-5 start, Zamenski remains confident the Aztecs can turn the season around and finish strong. The important thing, he said, is for Corona to concentrate harder and erase the mistakes.

“That’s something you have to work on in practice,” he said.

The team also has to study harder, according to Zamenski, watching film and seeing where they made mistakes and correct them.

The roster is young and for many of the players, this season has been a learning experience, with talent at key positions—Evan Kinney has been a solid quarterback and Dominic Mercurio is a tough runner in between the tackles.

Led by Todd Peat, Andrus Peat, CJ Anderson and Matthew Seall, the offensive line has become the team’s strength. The defensive line has been strong and the linebackers and defensive backs have play-making ability, according to Zamenski.

Now, said Zamenski, the team must work on finishing plays and find a way to put it all together. If Corona can do those things, he said it can receive the breakthrough it has been searching for.

“That’s always how you feel. A break here can mean really neat things can happen,” he said. “Hopefully, they’re learning the lessons.”

Zamenski said he wants to see his team improving each week, a challenge that can be met with one fundamental formula:

“The only thing I know how to do is just keep plugging,” he said. “We’re after that: getting better. They just have to stay after it.”

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