Wendy Alexander/The madera Tribune
The Madera Coyotes football team celebrates winning the Stadium Road Showdown for the eighth time in 11 games with the Bandsaw Trophy after Friday’s 21-16 victory over Madera South in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Stadium Road Showdown lived up to the hype and then some. Both the Madera Coyotes and the Madera South Stallions battled back and forth, but the Coyotes were able to find their way in a 21-16 County/Metro Athletic Conference matchup at Memorial Stadium.
“That was a battle, a chess match, and it was just a great atmosphere and game to be a part of,” Madera head coach Yosef Fares said.
Fares has won consecutive games against the Stallions since losing in his debut season. Since then, the Madera has won the last two by a combined 70-36 score.
Although Friday’s tilt was closer than years past, the Coyotes’ position in the game never came in doubt. However, the Stallions gave forth their best effort of the season.
“I was proud of the way my boys responded, but hats off to Madera South players and staff,” Fares said as he pointed to the Stallions’ huddle. “They fought their tail off all night and they put a heck of a game plan together. I was extremely impressed how that group handled this game and I was impressed my group as well.”
Colt Nelson and Jacob Garcia highlighted the rivalry game with a combined three touchdowns for the Coyotes. The Stallions’ determined defense wanted Madera to run the ball, and Garcia, along with Jeremiah Sanchez pounded the Stallions’ defense for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.
Madera South, on the other hand, relied on their usual suspects — Jaden Cisneros and Dallas Hansen. The team rushed for more than 200 yards, including Cisneros who carried the bulk of the load with 100 yards rushing and a passing touchdown.
However, the Stallions’ defense might’ve been their strength on the night. The defense had two interceptions, one by Hector Hernandez and the second by Matthew Posas who took his 60 yards for a touchdown, along with a fumble recovery on the goal line.
Madera South head coach Matt Johnson had his team fired up from the start.
The Coyotes opened the game on offense and immediately took to the air to assault the young Stallions.
That youth wouldn’t stand in the way of Hernandez as he soared in the air and intercepted Nelson the very first play. The packed Madera South student section was in ecstasy.
The Stallions didn’t generate any points off the turnover, but they got Madera’s attention.
Madera responded with a 13-play drive that started in their own territory. A combination of power runs and quick draws to Garcia and Sanchez kept the Stallions on their toes. Nelson finished off the drive with a nine-yard touchdown strike to Raul Medrano. Medrano used his quick feet to beat the Stallions’ corner off the line where he looked up and found the ball for six points.
Madera South came right back with a 12-play drive that culminated in a 23-yard field goal by Jose Aguilar. Cisneros lead the way with four carries and 30 yards and two passes completed for nine yards.
Both teams exchanged touchdowns before the half ended. Garcia finished off a three-yard touchdown before Cisneros found Miguel Camarena for a 19-yard touchdown catch.
In what was predicted to be an uneven affair, both Madera schools were locked in a battle for The Bandsaw trophy.
Fortunately for Madera, they controlled the field and clock in the second half. Behind Sanchez and Garcia, the Coyotes controlled the rest of the game.
J.J, Espinoza put the game out of reach in the third quarter after he broke loose from his defender and caught a 10-yard pass from Nelson for his second touchdown pass of the night.
Just as the game seemed out of reach, the Stallions’ defense struck again. Posas hid deep in the secondary waiting to strike. As Nelson fired a pass towards the home sideline, Posas sprung forward and pulled the ball out of the air and returned it 60 yards to the house.
Posas had to work for the score, though. After realizing the ball was going into double coverage, Nelson flew to the sideline in order to meet Posas. Posas recognized the charging Coyote and side-stepped Nelson as he continued into the end zone.
The Stallions made one last effort but couldn’t dig themselves out. For the second year in a row, the Coyotes reclaimed the Stadium Road Showdown trophy.