Player of the game: Sophomore quarterback Colt Nelson was called upon as the starting playcaller after Madera’s Week 8 loss to Bullard. Nelson completed eight-of-16 passes for 84 yards, but had two interceptions. He was poised, accurate, and was able to move the chains. With lack of experience, mistakes are expected, and mistakes were made by Nelson throwing two interceptions. Coyote fans were able to get a possible glimpse into their future. Nelson has great upside and potential with one extra year behind Jerry Hernandez.
Unsung hero of the game: Junior wide receiver Joseph Saldivar had 70 receiving yards on five receptions. Saldivar has been the Coyote’s go-to guy through the air all season and is quietly building chemistry on the field with both Nelson, and junior quarterback Hernandez. Four of Saldivar’s five grabs were for first downs, which led Madera to setup in position and helped control the clock.
Play of the game: Justin Landero, senior defensive standout for the Coyotes, received an outside pitch near the goal line with his team down 14-0. It’s usually Landero making timely plays for the Coyotes on defense and chasing down opposing quarterbacks. But, with 6:04 left in the first quarter, Landero received a pitch to the outside when he lost possession of the ball and fumbled. Landero’s fumble was a confidence-shattering turnover. A then two-score game became a 21-0 game after the Panthers converted on Landero’s fumble.
Drive of the game: With 1:11 left in the first half, quarterback Colt Nelson completed five passes, four which were consecutive for gains of 10-plus yards. The Coyotes did not score on any drive during the game, yet this drive, specifically to end the second quarter, proved that Nelson is ready to lead the team. Nelson completed first downs of 17, 18, and 10 yards in less than 60 seconds before throwing his first interception of the game in the red zone.