San Diego Prep Review / Chris De Luca : Coronado's Success Raises 1-A, 2-A Issue

Coronado High School's football team has erased the bad memories of 1984, when it couldn't even finish the injury-plagued season because only 12 players remained on the team.

Soon after the season, the San Diego Section Board of Managers dropped Coronado from 2-A to the 1-A Mountain-Desert League. Coronado started the 1984 season with 22 players and eventually had to forfeit its last two games because of the injuries. Coronado Coach Dave Tupek was satisfied with the decision and Coronado went on to win the section 1-A championship last year.

Now that Coronado is 7-1 overall and 4-0 in the Mountain-Desert League, there has been discussion among some 1-A coaches that the school will be back in the 2-A. Tupek doesn't want to go back.

He said the success of his senior-dominated team this season could drastically change in a year. At a school with fewer than 700 students, a strong turnout for the football team is never a certainty.

"I don't know what the future holds in store for us," Tupek said. "To bounce back up to 2-A would be difficult. We could end up like we did (in 1984)."

But Coronado has had an easy run through its league this season. Its only loss was a 6-0 defeat to Upper Lake High in Northern California, which is a strong 1-A school. Coronado has played three 2-A schools this season and easily won each game.

"I don't think they should go back up to 2-A," Marian Coach John Pappas said. "They are a 1-A team. If they go back to 2-A they would get beat up and, ultimately, interest would be lost in their program."

Tupek said the best alternative would be for the section to form a separate 2-A division for teams that are too good for 1-A but too small for 2-A. Schools such as Ramona, St. Augustine and Coronado thrive in 1-A but can't keep up with 2-A teams.

"We are an in-between team," Tupek said. "We are a big 1-A school and a small 2-A school. When it comes down to it, of course, I would prefer to be the big guys."

Kendall Webb, section commissioner, said such a realignment of the in-between schools is at least two years away.

Two years ago, the section surveyed high school principals, athletic directors and coaches on such a realignment. The majority favored a realignment. But after the section formed a committee to finalize a realignment, another survey found that individual schools were in favor of the idea--but for only for other schools in the county.

"They said, 'Yes, we should have some releaguing, but we are all fine,' " Webb said. "When you get everybody saying, 'We are fine. You don't need to change us,' then nothing will happen."

Pappas said he firmly believes in forming a new division for schools like Coronado and that he would like to see Marian join such a division. At this point in the season, Pappas said, he wouldn't mind if Marian (0-2, 1-7) dropped to 1-A.

"I would love to see that," he said. "But I don't think that's the view of the school. It would certainly bolster the kids who work their tails off during the season."

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