Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera running back Josh McMillon led the Coyotes with 91 rushing yards in Friday’s loss to Bullard.
The Madera Coyotes continue to search for a victory after a 42-7 loss to the Bullard-Fresno Knights at McLane Stadium.
The Coyotes are able run the ball effectively Friday night, but turnovers and inconsistent defense continue to be a problem. Two second half fumbles halted Madera drives in scoring position.
Three leading rushers combined for 175 yards behind senior running back Josh McMillon’s 91, junior running back Jason Regua’s 49, and the junior quarterback Jerry Hernandez’s 35-yard touchdown run.
Before Madera was able to have an offensive possession the score was 7-0. Bullard’s Ontario Walls would have one of the most electrifying performances allowed by Madera all season. Walls actually fumbled the game’s opening kickoff at the 5-yard line. He re-gained possession at the two, broke two tackles, and took the ball 98 yards for a touchdown.
One side of McLane Stadium was nearly empty and the other side was celebrating homecoming. Bullard’s student section was lively before Walls returned the opening kick for a score, and it became deafening just 15 seconds into the game.
Madera took the field and gained two first downs right away behind McMillon running tough. Hernandez’s only completion of the half was a first down strike to Joseph Saldivar. Facing third down after an illegal motion penalty, Hernandez was sacked for a loss of two yards and the Coyotes were left to punt.
Senior defensive end Michael Hartley nailed Bullard’s athletic running quarterback, Jack Taylor for a loss of 12 yards, which put an exclamation point on the Coyotes’ first play on defense.
That intensity was short-lived, Taylor and Walls began to find a rhythm and chop away at the defensive secondary, which has been vulnerable all season long.
A 23-yard screen pass and a 45-yard run allowed the Knights to gain four first-downs on their opening drive, which was capped off by Taylor completing a 13-yard bootleg pass to sophomore running back Marcus Fulcher.
The Coyotes took over with 4:32 left in the first quarter trailing 14-0 and were unable to gain positive yardage. On fourth down, the ball was snapped in punt formation and blocked by the Knights at the onr-yard line.
It took three plays for Bullard to score their third touchdown of the game. Taylor completed his second touchdown pass of the game from six yards out to Fulcher. With just under two minutes left in the opening quarter, the Coyotes were down 21-0 and the Bullard crowd was only getting louder.
The Coyotes took over with 1:59 left, and put together a nearly flawless drive which would’ve kept them competitive. Madera went 70 yards to end the first quarter, McMillon gained two first downs on runs of 6 and 22 yards. The Coyotes opted to attempt a pass in the red zone on third down, which was incomplete. The next play was a fourth-down fumbled snap on the 10-yard line and Madera turned the ball over to Bullard.
Two plays later, Walls was handed the ball at the 9-yard line and cut to the right going up the Bullard sideline for a 91-yard touchdown for a 28-0 lead. Three Coyote turnovers and four Bullard touchdowns put the Coyotes in the hole.
Both teams traded interceptions on each possession before Bullard running back Daylan Zarate ran for a six-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left in the first half. The Coyotes jogged into the locker room down 35-0 at halftime. When they jogged back for the last time after the clock expired they only allowed seven points, and scored their only touchdown of the game.
Madera could’ve outscored Bullard 21-7 in the second half if it weren’t for third quarter turnovers. With 11:40 left in the game, Hernandez scrambled out of the pocket and darted upfield for a 35-yard touchdown run. It was Walls that answered Madera’s only score with an 80-yard touchdown run. Walls ran for 269 yards on scoring plays alone.
After putting up five touchdowns on the scoreboard in the first half, Bullard managed one in the fourth quarter.
Madera can now turn to its next matchup Friday night when they host San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno in Memorial Stadium.