Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera defensive back J.J. Espinoza outruns the Edison defense during his 56-yard interception return for a touchdown to account for the Coyotes’ lone touchdown.
The Madera Coyotes lost 52-10 to County/Metro Athletic Conference foe Edison-Fresno Tigers and look to put the poor second half performance behind them.
The Coyotes have played fairly well in the first half of games this season. Madera was able to take advantage of the Tiger’s mistakes, just as they have all season in Friday’s loss.
A defensive redzone stand held the Tigers to a field goal after junior quarterback Jerry Hernandez was unable to control a bad snap recovered by Edison on the third play of the game.
Coyote senior linebacker Justin Landero bullied his way to grab the first of two Coyote takeaways to end the first quarter. Landero’s interception and 29-yard return put the offense in position for a field goal.
The Tigers gained possession, leading 10-3 9:17 left after the field goal by Juan Daza. During that possession, Edison was called for a hold on a 67-yard touchdown, pushing the offense back to the 22-yard line. After gaining two first downs, junior defensive back J.J. Espinoza cradled an underthrown ball by Edison quarterback Adrian Galarza then saw an opening and beelined 56-yards for a Coyote touchdown.
Espinoza was called up from the junior varsity team and made an immediate impact on special teams as a kick returner and in the defensive secondary.
During the first half, the Coyotes had flashes of brilliance on defense.
With 2:47 left in the second quarter, junior Michael Brocchini nailed Edison’s Jaylan King for a six-yard loss, forcing the Tigers to punt. On the following Edison possession, junior free safety Raelon Hill had a would-be third interception slip through his fingers with 1:26 remaining.
Going into the half trailing 17-10 was the last of the defensive highlights for the Coyotes.
The Tigers put 38 unanswered points on the board as the Coyote offense was unable to score.
Edison rushed for four touchdowns in the 52-10 victory.
After last Friday night’s loss to the Tigers, the Coyotes head into their Week 8 matchup at McLane Stadium against the Bullard-Fresno Knights.
Fares, Bullard alum, spent 14 seasons helping the Knights under Don Arax. As defensive coordinator and defensive line coach, he played a vital role in Bullard’s 2009 undefeated season and Valley Championship.
“He played a huge role in my coaching career,” Fares said of Arax. “He gave me the opportunity and was more than just a mentor but another father figure in my life.”
Fares has brought a change of culture to Madera since he was hired June 1. Change can prove difficult for many but after committing to his philosophies, the players know it will be worth it in the end.
To the benefit of the underclassmen, the Coyotes are gaining football knowledge which will prove to help them in the near future. Madera will battle a disciplined Knights team and get a taste of what the Coyote football program can become and surpass.
“Those close to the program know we’re building a foundation that will allow us to compete in these games in the future,” Fares said. “I’ve spent four years as a player and 14 as a coach, and, to me this, is a measuring stick of where we want the Madera program.”
Their win-loss record is a reflection of their play on the field, but the Coyotes are maturing off the field, which is an important thing to keep in mind.
Coyote junior free safety Raelon Hill knew close to nothing about Fares other than his reputation at Bullard as a defensive coordinator.
“He’s showing us how to fight through adversity, and it’s going to help me and my teammates future,” Hill said. “The team this year has gained more knowledge of the game. He has changed a lot of things around. We have 6:30 a.m. practices, have meetings on our game plan for the week and we actually have weightroom training that is benefiting us.”
Madera will battle a disciplined Knights team and get a taste of what the Coyote football program can become and surpass.
With nothing to lose, and every ounce of confidence to gain, Hill put in perspective the Coyote’s mentality as they get ready to fight for Fares, “Bullard better be ready for a war.”