Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Angel Guizar shakes free from a Kerman tackle to score the first of his two touchdowns in Friday’s win.
The Madera Coyotes boys football team opened its season 3-0 after defeating the Kerman Lions
48-30 at its home opener at Lee DaSilva Field in Memorial Stadium.
“Our starting defense only gave up 14 points and shut them down,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said. “A lot of people, they see that 30-point score and they don’t really know how good we played defensively. The starting defense has only been giving up 14 points a game, but we play a no-huddle offense so our whole job is trying to create an extra quarter. We’ve played three more quarters than anybody else defensively. You have to really check the numbers and we go off points per possession and we’re under a field goal per possession, which is where we want to be.”
Through three games this season, the Coyotes have confidence which is being expressed on the field.
Madera’s starting defense registered six sacks, including two each from Rudy Paredes and Blake Skipper and an interception by J.J. Espinoza.
Madera has scored 128 points this season, and have allowed 71. Their efforts have them primed for a run at the CMAC title, however the focus is week-to-week for the Coyotes.
“This was a big win for us because to start the season off 3-0 is a big accomplishment and a testament to what this team has done,” Fares said. “It’s only building confidence from here on out, but we still have a long way to go. We have a big game next week, so we can’t really dwell on this too long. We have about 24 hours to enjoy this and then we get right back to work because we have to go get the Governor’s Hat again.”
The Coyotes play Friday at Golden Valley High School’s Memorial Stadium against Merced for the Governor’s Hat, which Madera won last season.
Last Friday’s match for the Lions turned out to be a completely different story from their previous trip to Memorial Stadium a week earlier. Kerman defeated the Madera South Stallions 35-7, but this time, the script was flipped.
Colt Nelson, Espinoza and Angel Guizar combined for more than 500 yards. Nelson threw for 273 yards including five touchdowns. Three of those scores wound up in the hands of Espinoza, who continued to showcase his speed, agility and toughness with seven receptions for 120 yards.
While Nelson and Espinoza hooked up for three scores, Guizar led a strong effort for the Coyotes backfield.
Guizar finished the night with 21 carries and 156 yards rushing, including a 25-yard touchdown run that opened the flood gates for Madera in the first quarter and a second in a 27-point third quarter. Along with Guizar’s run and Espinoza’s deep shot in the third quarter, Isaiah Martinez hauled in the longest play of the night with a 55-yard strike from Nelson.
The Coyotes executed a seven-play drive for 60 yards, ending in the end zone on the opening drive. Jeremiah Sanchez and Guizar combined to give the Coyotes their first score of the night as they had five rushes, including a 25-yard touchdown scamper for Guizar.
On Kerman’s first snap, John Cook sacked Gavin Layton and later helped pressure him into a missed fourth-down conversion. The Coyotes were firing on all cylinders and only continued their dominance.
After taking over on downs, Nelson orchestrated a touchdown drive that culminated in an Espinoza score. Nelson targeted his quick-footed wideout three times on the drive, including a 15-yard score.
With seven minutes left in the first quarter, the Coyotes had a 14-point lead and never looked back.
Madera forced the Lions into another fourth down and, once again, the defensive line applied too much pressure. Paredes fought off his blocker to sack Layton for the second time.
Madera’s defense made it a habit, stopping the Lions on fourth down. With only three minutes on the clock, the Lions tried a quarterback sneak to pick up the first down, but the Coyotes stood firm to deny the Lions for third time in the first quarter.
Kerman’s break finally came after the Lions picked off Nelson and took over on offense. Two big runs of 25 and 30 yards doomed Madera after Colton Smith ran in the score from 30 yards out. Madera still had a slim 14-7 lead, the Lions were beginning to find their footing.
Madera took over on offense with little more than 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Nelson and company orchestrated an 11-play drive that culminated in an 18-yard strike to Espinoza.
The Coyote offensive line picked up blitzes, opened gaps and, more importantly, never gave up until the final whistle. Their effort opened the passing lanes for Nelson, giving him the time to find Espinoza curling to the front pylon.
The Coyotes had the upper hand throughout the first half. However, the Lions mounted a fierce comeback with only a few minutes remaining in the half to get within one touchdown, 21-14.
Much like the first half, the Coyotes came out swinging in the second half. With more than five minutes remaining, the Coyotes already scored 13 points. Madera built a 34-14 lead behind an eight-yard pass from Nelson to Jevon Denis and a two-yard run by Guizar.
Whether it was through the air or on the ground, the Coyotes were in attack mode.
Nelson continued to push the ball downfield with ease. After scoring 13 points, the Coyotes wanted more.
Nelson found Espinoza for a 35-yard touchdown as his receiver couldn’t be covered. For opposing defenses, keying in on Espinoza opened up passing lanes for other receivers and Martinez cashed in on a 55-yard touchdown. Nelson found his receiver after beating the Lion coverage.
After 27 points in the third quarter from four Madera touchdowns, the game was safely in the Coyotes’ hand.
Kerman made a late push with two fourth quarter touchdowns, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
With the game in hand, some of the Madera reserves got their chance, including Martinez who took over at quarterback.
“Our second team defense got in and opportunity to play some football,” Fares said. “They made some mistakes, but for the most part they gave everything they had.”