Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera receiver Jerry Hernandez runs away from the Los Banos defense on a long reception during Friday’s loss.
The Madera Coyotes football team opened its 2017 campaign with a home loss against the Los Banos Tigers in a non-conference game in Memorial Stadium.
After the Coyotes opened the game with a touchdown drive, the visiting Tigers capitalized on sloppy play to upend the Coyotes, 34-19.
“I thought we did a lot of good things,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said. “But we did not execute in key situations. We lost the key situations tonight. Third downs, that goal-line fourth down, we just didn’t execute. We’ve got to continue to work on those and continue to do the right things. There was a lot of good things tonight, but the key situations we lost.”
Although Fares highlighted areas to improve, he also stressed that the work and improvement continues. From tackling angles to reads on RPO’s (run-pass option), the Coyotes have shown growth, but need more consistency.
“Just a ton of stuff,” Fares said. “Obviously tackling needs work even though I thought we tackled better tonight than last season. So there was an improvement in that area, but we still need to continue and improve. We’ve still got a lot of work.”
The Coyotes began the season on a methodical drive down the field that culminated in a one-yard touchdown run by running back Jaysun Regua. Along with 33 yards passing and a 13 yard scramble by quarterback Colt Nelson, Regua showed his explosiveness with a catch down the middle of the field along with his yards running the ball.
After allowing an early first down to the Tigers, the Coyotes, led by Jonathan Garcia and Anthony Gonzalez, penetrated past the Tiger interior lineman and stuffed the opposing runner for a loss of yards.
It would turn out to be the start of a strong momentum swing for the Coyotes after they stopped the Tigers three straight times before they pressured the opposition punt team to misplay the snap, sending the ball 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
The Coyotes took over in the opponent’s red zone but were unable to move the ball after an untimely penalty.
After both teams traded three-and-outs, the Coyotes took over at midfield. Regua took the handoff for two yards but lost the ball in the process. and the Tigers recovered in Coyote territory.
The Tigers drove down the field and punched it in for seven and took the lead, 7-6.
The Coyotes gave up the lead, but immediately responded. Nelson led the team down the field and tossed a touchdown pass to Joseph Sandoval after Nelson converted a fourth-and- three with a quarterback draw.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Coyotes led 13-7.
The lead would be short lived after Los Banos quarterback Anthony Caballero drove his team down the field for the lead. Caballero’s pinpoint accuracy proved detrimental to the Coyotes once again as Los Banos led 14-13 at the half.
Roles reversed in the second half after the Tigers opened the break with a drive that ended in six points.
The momentum swung back to the home team after Nelson hooked up with receiver Jerry Hernandez for back-to-back completions for 52 and 29 yards, the latter finished off in the end zone.
With seven minutes remaining in the quarter, the Coyotes trailed 20-19 after they failed to convert a two-point conversion.