Experienced La Coruña loaded with veterans after playing for regional football title last year

FLINT — Steve Herrick wasn’t considering 2022 when his La Coruña football team faced Marine City in the playoffs last year.

Not in the middle of a regional championship game.

But he remembers seeing something that could bode well for the Cavaliers this season.

“At one point, it was probably in the middle of the third quarter, I remember looking over there and thinking, ‘We’ve got a senior on the court,'” Herrick said.

It was against a team that won the Division 5 state championship after beating La Coruña 21-14. It was a game the Cavaliers could have easily won had things been slightly different.

“We trailed 14-7 going into the fourth quarter,” Herrick recalled during a recent MLive-Flint Journal media day at the Flint Farmers Market. “We were rolling and we fumbled the ball. It was the turning point of the game.

“If we had scored we would have gone for two to try to get up 15-14 and then we would have played in defence.”

Instead, Marine City won the following week against Portland – a team Herrick thinks Corunna could have beaten – before losing in the state championship game 31-7 to mighty Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

“We started last year 2-3,” said Herrick, who led the Cavs to a 7-5 record is in his second stint as Corunna coach. “We lost our first game against Fowlerville. The first year being back as head coach and we were 0-1. It didn’t go well (but) it helped us build as the season progressed.

“Now what are we capable of (this year)? In Division 5, there are two or three teams that stand out. Central Catholic and Marine City. We have guys capable of being very successful.

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“It’s a matter of working, staying together and above all being lucky with injuries. To stay healthy.”

The Cavaliers’ only major losses were quarterback/defensive back Jaden Herrick—the coach’s son—and All-Metro League First-Team offensive lineman Jake Nichols.

Their key returning players include Xavier Anderson, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound linebacker/running back who missed the final two playoff games last year with a neck injury; senior linebacker Collin Thompson (5-10, 160) and junior twins Tarick and Wyatt Bower.

Tarick Bower (6-2, 165) is a defensive back and receiver while Wyatt Bower (6-3, 175) is a quarterback and safety. Both started in the defensive field last season.

Wyatt Bower played a quarterback replacement for Jaden Herrick last year, Steve Herrick is confident his offense will be in good hands.

“We have several guys who can hurt a defense,” offensive coordinator Sal Ausiello said. “We will try to distribute the ball as much as possible.

“We just have a variety of guys that I think we can hurt a defense with and I think that’s going to give the defensive coordinators a lot of crises. They must remain balanced. They have to make sure they read their keys.

“I don’t think they can be as aggressive as they would like.”

Ausiello was the defensive coordinator last year.

“That physical mindset that he brings to the other side of the ball,” Herrick said. “One of the things we’ve been proud of at La Coruña over the years is being a physical football team.

“Offensively, defensively… directing football.”

Other key players returning for La Coruna include junior linebacker/running back Jaden Edington, senior safety Peyton Termeer and sophomores AJ Brieger and Alan Mrva, who both saw action as rookie last season.

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The schedule is favorable for La Coruña with the first four home games. The Cavs will host Fowlerville on August 25 before facing Pinckney, Owosso and defending Metro League champion Lake Fenton.


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