Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera receiver K’Veon Jones outruns the Bullard defense on a 44-yard touchdown catch-and-run during Friday’s loss.
Homecoming didn’t go as planned for the Madera Coyotes football team after they lacked the consistency needed to finish the game after the Bullard-Fresno Knights scored 22 points in the second half to take the County/Metro Athletic conference game, 42-20, at Lee DaSilva Field.
“Coach Don Arax even said out hit them in the first half,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said. “That’s coming from a legendary coach who prides himself on out hitting other teams. That’s a huge compliment to where our program is. We know where our program is right now and we have a good football team, we have a team that we feel can cause a lot of problems but if we want to get it to where we want to get this program, where we can win a CMAC title, where we can beat Bullard and Edison, we have to figure out how to win the second half. That comes down to execution, focus and just mistake-free football.”
When asked if his team would find that consistency this season, Fares adamantly stated his team has found it. Now, it’s about applying that to all of their games, not just the favorable matchups.
“I think there is no doubt we can do it against a like opponent, we’ve proved it,” Fares said. “I’m talking about bigger and better things, I feel if we get into a Div. III playoff game, we’re going to be fine in the second half because we match up well. If we want to beat these guys, like we do, we want to beat Bullard, beat Edison and compete with the big boys, but we got to figure out how to win the second half.”
Although Colt Nelson had more than 250 yards passing and two total touchdowns, the Coyotes hot start didn’t carry over to the second half after the Knights outscored the home team 22-6.
Led by junior Marcus Fulcher, the Knights ran for almost 300 yards. Fulcher rushed for 254 yards and three touchdowns in a dominant showing. The Knights’ second-half surge came in part to Fulcher scoring in the third and fourth quarter.
The Coyotes opened the contest and turned the ball over on their first drive. After Nelson utilized Joseph Saldivar and Joziah Velazquez to take the Coyotes down the field, Nelson threw a ball in coverage and was picked off.
The team responded to its early stumble by going on a seven-play drive, which ended in the end zone after Nelson found K’Veon Jones streaking down the field for a 44-yard touchdown.
The Coyotes defense took over and immediately allowed two big runs to Fulcher. However, the Coyote defense showed their toughness and gang-tackled Fulcher on consecutive plays to force the visitors into a punt.
With momentum on their side, the Coyotes took nine plays to double their lead after a big catch-and-run by Velazquez set up Nelson’s six-yard touchdown run.
Nelson felt the pressure and ditched the pocket where he absorbed a big hit and crossed the goal line.
The Coyotes went up 14-0, but that was all that could be said for the home team. Other than a late score by Saldivar, the Knights took over and never let loose.
The Knights put 20 points on the board in the quarter from both sides of the ball. Fulcher contributed on the ground and senior Cory Scott picked off an errant pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Scott lurked in the secondary before picking off Nelson near midfield. The senior took it 50 yards, tip-toeing down the sideline for the score.
The visitors piled on three more scores, ending the game. Fulcher scored two of his touchdowns in the final two quarters and Shalom Welch added another touchdown run.
Saldivar gave the home crowd something to cheer about toward the end of the last whistle with a five-yard touchdown run after the Coyotes patiently worked their way down the field.
In the midst of a tough schedule, the Coyotes only have business on their mind and that’s in the form of San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno on Friday in Fresno.