Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Jacob Garcia runs down the sideline during a long gain in Friday’s loss to San Joaquin Memorial.
The San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers once again proved they’re the team to beat in the County/Metro Athletic Conference with a 55-13 win over the Madera Coyotes at Memorial Stadium.
“Coming in tonight, the game plan was to eat the clock up and I think we did a good job of that in the first half. A few things caused us to abandon that — the punt over our head and just a few sputters,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said. “We executed well, but we just didn’t finish in the red zone.”
From the quarterback position in Alex Trujillo, down to the kicking position, the Panthers are stacked. Almost 10 different players are being recruited for college football next season.
“That’s a good football team. A lot of guys are going to play college football,” Fares said.
Trujillo, the San Jose State commit, delivered one of the best passing performances the CMAC has seen this season. The senior completed 21 of 24 passes for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
The senior averaged close to 20 yards per throw on Friday, hooking up with his top three receivers with ease — Jalen McMillan, Mac Dalena and Josh Kelly.
The trio combined for 19 catches, 398 yards and all five scores from Trujillo.
Madera fought from the first to last quarter, but they just couldn’t find a way to get past one of the best teams in the Valley.
For the Coyotes, they used the night to honor their senior members of the football program. In total, 26 players received an honorary call from the announcer to show the importance each individual’s has been through the course of their football careers at Madera.
“The seniors have done a tremendous job,” Fares said. “There are a lot of things people don’t see. They just come out on Friday nights and see the victories and losses, but this senior group has been with me the longest out of any group. They’ve been through the grind since they were freshman and they’ve risen to the occasion.
“We didn’t get the upsets we were looking for, but we competed against Sanger. We competed against Bullard and we competed against Edison. They never backed down from anyone. Program-wise, this group accomplished all the big things — working hard in the weight room, film room and the practice field. Now, it’s about expecting the little things and that’s what next year’s group is going to work on.”
The game itself showed the possibility of a low-scoring affair early on after a 7-0 first quarter for the Panthers, but the hinges came loose in the second quarter.
The Panthers scored 20 points in the second quarter to put a stranglehold on the game.
Madera opened the second quarter with a score of their own. Colt Nelson and the Coyotes took a five-play drive over 40 yards, culminating in a one-yard score by Jeremiah Sanchez. Sanchez found enough space out of the backfield to haul in the pass and score Madera’s first touchdown.
Heading into halftime, the Coyotes found themselves trailing 27-7.
Memorial opened the third quarter much like the first and second — scoring.
Kelly got the Memorial crowd back into the game just after the kickoff with a 60-yard catch-and-run. Kelly strolled into the end zone, punishing the Coyotes on the back end.
J.J. Espinoza provided the Coyote faithful with a quick glimpse of his brilliance, yet again, after he shook free from his defender for the short touchdown catch. Although Espinoza and Nelson weren’t their lethal selves, they still put themselves on the line for the team.
The undefeated Panthers cruised the rest of the second half, controlling the football and playing smart football on the defensive side.
The visitors wrapped up the game in the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown run by Eric Hirata in the fourth quarter.
The Coyotes now turn their attention to next-door neighbors Madera South in the Stadium Road Showdown,