The final fight

Football loses to Mira Costa after a hard-fought second half in their last game of the season


Photo via RUHS Football Flickr

On a foggy October night in Manhattan Beach, varsity football took the field in front of a packed Waller Stadium Crowd. Sure, a potential shot at the playoffs was on the line, but the desire to win this game went far beyond those aspirations. This was the game the team had been waiting all season for: Redondo against Mira Costa, the “Battle at the Beach”. The importance of this game goes without saying. Redondo Head Coach Matt Ballard understood this from the day he was hired.

“I was new here eight years ago, and I’ve always liked how serious the environment [of the school week] is. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, ‘Are you going to beat Costa?’,” Ballard said. “Rivalries are special everywhere. You know, the Battle of the Beach, the respectful hatred we have for each other. I think we respect each other, but we definitely want to beat the crap out of each other.” 

Sophomore linebacker, fullback and tight end Carson Cox believes that the familiarity between the players on both sides is what makes the rivalry interesting. 

“We grew up playing on the same Pop Warner teams as [the Costa players] and now we’re battling each other,” Cox said. “It’s a pretty important game, but at the end of the day it’s all fun.”

Despite all of the hype heading into the game and a decent showing of Redondo fans, Mira Costa proved too much to handle for Redondo. Losing by a final score of 55-35, Redondo didn’t seem to have any answers for Costa’s offense. 

“We were shooting ourselves in the foot. We couldn’t get a stop to save our lives,” Ballard said. “There weren’t many schematic issues, we just needed to execute our tackling, which we struggled doing. If we get two or three stops there in the second half we actually make it competitive and get close.”

Cox took away a similar sentiment from the game. 

“Defensively I thought we didn’t play badly in the rush game, but we struggled a bit in the pass game,” Cox said.

The somewhat lopsided score notwithstanding, both Ballard and Cox found a bright spot they took away from the game. Ballard noted that the team “moved the ball really well after the first quarter”, and Cox believed they “threw the ball very effectively” and that they “ran the ball very well”. 

While the season proved to be a bit of a disappointment, Cox believes that the team’s record doesn’t tell the whole story of the season. 

“From the first game to now, [the improvements] have been incredible.” Cox said. “I’d say we played at a two-out-of-ten level in our first game against Simi. Tonight I think we play at an eight or nine-out-of-ten level. The season didn’t go quite as well as we wanted, but we all fought hard. That’s all that matters.”

This season was far from ordinary. Considering all of the changes and protocols that came with the COVID pandemic, just to get through the season without postponements is an accomplishment in itself. The team made the situation a lot easier for the coaches, with their “good attitudes” and their willingness to “give all they had” according to Ballard.

“I hoped that they enjoyed it. I hope they feel like they accomplished something, regardless of wins,” Ballard said. “They all had different goals; some were trying to get all-league, for others just playing was a huge goal. I hope that they feel like they achieved their goals and that they grew as people, and I know they’re better for it.”