Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty running back Wyatt Roth runs through one of many tackles made during the 2018 season. Roth became the first Liberty back to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season and 4,000 in a career. He also accounted for a school record 222 points. He follows in his brother’s footsteps and is The Madera Tribune’s football Most Valuable Player.
Most Valuable Player
Sr. RB-LB Liberty
Last season, Wyatt Roth’s brother Kaleb set numerous records in the Liberty football record books. This season, Wyatt overtook Kaleb and owns nearly every rushing record in the Liberty record book. The only record he doesn’t own is rushing yards in a game and Kaleb owns that by three yards. Wyatt came close and may have gotten a chance if he hadn’t told head coach Mike Nolte and gotten his statisician yelled at. Despite that, Roth enjoyed one of the best, if not the best, season a Liberty football player had ever experienced. He became the first Liberty player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season (2,119), rush for more than 4,000 yards in his career (4,011) and score more than 50 touchdowns in a career (57). Liberty has had player rush for more than 200 yards 13 times and Roth had six this season. He also has a school record 35 rushing touchdowns in a season and scored a school record 222 points. On top of that, he recorded eight sacks and had 46 tackles, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and two fumble recoveries. This is his second All-Tribune selection. Roth was the North Sequoia League Most Valuable Player as well as earning first team All-League selections on offense and defense.
Offensive Player of the Year
Sr. Quarterback Madera
Nelson is The Madera Tribune’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. He threw for more than 3,000 yards for the second season in a row. He threw 45 touchdown passes against just 11 interceptions and completed passes at a 63 percent rate. This came after he passed for 3,802 yards last year with 34 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Nelson was that person that got the Madera offensive headed in the right direction. His timing on passes were impeccable and that enabled receivers J.J. Espinoza and Joziah Velasquez to shine. Nelson played almost every snap and will be tough to replace next season. In a league with Div. I powerhouses and the Div. II Valley Champion in San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno, Nelson was named the County/Metro Athletic Conference’s first-team quarterback.
Sr. Quarterback Liberty
When Liberty first started this season, Miller was a little shaky at quarterback. He started to gain his footing and starting to find the open receiver. He only completed 26 passes, but 21 went for first downs and six went for touchdowns. His 26 completions went for an average of 25 yards. fifteen of his completions went for 15 or more yards and five went for 40 or more yards with a long of 73 yards. He was an NSL Honorable Mention.
Jeremiah Sanchez and Jacob Garcia
Sr. (Garcia) Running Back Madera
The duo split time running the ball and and becime kind of like thunder and lightning. Garcia got the runs up the middle while Sanchez took it to the outside. The duo combined for 1,197 yards and averaged more than five yards a carry with eight touchdowns. Sanchez, just a sophomore, earned a second team All-CMAC nod.
Jr. Running Back Liberty
Roth needed to rest sometime and Miller was ready when his name was called. Mostly running sweeps, Miller rushed for 642 yards and averaged 58 yards per game. He had seven rushing touchdowns and averaged six yards per carry. Although slim and fast, Miller was known to lower his shoulder and give out as much punishment as he took. He was an All-NSL Honorable Mention.
Jr. Fullback Liberty
If you looked up fullback in the dictionary, you would see a photo of a shorter, muscular running back. Sometimes with facial hair and most of the times without a smile on their face. They are the ones doing the dirty work and that was Howe to a tee. With a better beard than all of his coaches except Coach Jeff Mendoza, Howe was a prototypical fullback. When Nolte needed a yard, Howe got it. When Nolte needed a key catch, Howe made it. When a key block was needed, Howe was here. He also was a key change-up back to Roth and Miller with his bursts up the middle. He was second on the team with 704 yards rushing and scored 11 touchdowns. He averaged 5.8 yards per carry. He was a second team All-NSL selection and a two-time All-Madera Tribune selection.
Sr. Receiver Madera
Great things were anticipated for Espinoza since he burst onto the scene his sophomore season. Espinoza has reached those heights. He led the team with 80 receptions for 1,131 yards with 17 touchdowns. He averaged 94 yards per game and 14 yards per catch. He also earned a first team All-CMAC selection. He is the only player this season to earn three All-Madera Tribune selections.
Sr. Receiver Madera
Last season, Velasquez was the team’s leading rusher. This year, he was moved out to receiver and proved his coaches made the right move. He was second to Epinoza in receptions, youards and touchdowns, but had a quality season, nonetheless. He caught 63 passes for 682 yards and averaged 56.8 yards per game with 12 touchdowns. He earned a second team All-CMAC selection.
Sr. Tight End Madera
Despite both Madera and Madera South running, basically, without a tight end, Cardoza was the de facto selection. However, he more than earned his spot on the All-Tribune team. He led the Hawks in receptions despite Liberty throwing the ball 75 times this season. He caught seven passes and five were for more than 20 yards and all seven led to first downs. He was also a big part of the line that opened holes for Roth, Miller and Howe. He was a first team All-NSL selection and a two-time All-Tribune selection at tight end.
Sr. Center Madera
Molina was the rock in the middle of the Madera Coyotes offensive line. He was as important to the Madera offense as Nelson was. He was the one calling the signals and opened holes for the running game to gain more than 1,200 yards this season and alleviate some pressure on the passing attack. Molina was honored by the CMAC with a second team selection. He follows in the footsteps of his brothers who were also All-Tribune selections (Anthony in 2013 and Chris in 2015).
Sr. Guard Madera
The unsung heroes for the Madera Coyotes this season was their offensive line. As a starting guard on one of the stronger units in the CMAC, Bowman held his own all season, allowing his running backs and quarterback to flourish. Bowman’s ability to open holes for Jacob Garcia and others, but also keep Nelson clean in the pocket allowed the Coyote offense to flourish. With a strong and versatile offensive line, an offense can be successful, and Bowman proved that.
Sr. Guard Madera
On an offense designed to move quickly and efficiently, senior guard Alex Vaca was right in the middle of it all. Vaca, not only a standout run blocker due to his size and strength, but also a gifted pass blocker who — in tandem with his offensive lineman — kept Nelson upright. Vaca wasn’t just important for his physical prowess, but his leadership on the field was a factor in his end of the season accolades. He was a CMAC honorable mention.
Sr. Tackle Liberty
If you watched film and saw where Roth gained most of his yardage, you would probably see No. 52 leading the way. Hayes was he bulldozer that cleared the way for Roth to carry the ball. Many times, Hayes would pull to clear the way and not have the hit somebody until 10 yards down the field. And you wouldn’t want to be a defensive back with Hayes running at you full speed. That’s a recipe for disaster. Hayes was a monster and was named the NSL Lineman of the year, received first team honors as an offensive and defensive lineman and this is his second All-Tribune honor.
Sr. Center Liberty
Like Molina, Lugo was the rock along the Liberty line. He anchored the line, which had four of the five linemen earn All-NSL first or second team honors. He started every game and was only taken out when the score wasn’t in doubt. He earned All-NSL first team honors and was also an honorable mention on the defensive line.
Sr. Tackle Liberty
Rojas missed the first half of the year with a foot injury. However, in just a half a season, made an impact on the NSL. He was solid at tackle for the Hawks and was a fixture that couldn’t be moved unless he wanted to be moved. He was a first team All-NSL selection and this is his second All-Tribune selection.
So. Guard Liberty
Just like Hayes, most of the time Wallace was right next to him clearing a path for Roth to run through. There were times when Wallace and Hayes would just run down the field and wait for Roth to overtake them because there was no one else to block. Wallace will be a force on both sides of the ball the next two seasons. He is also a legacy selection. His brother Wade was an All-Tribune Most Valuable Player in 2014 and brother Chad was an All-Tribune Utility Player of the Year in 2015. The Wallaces have earned six All-Tribune selections. Brad was a second team All-NSL selection.
Sr. D-Line Liberty
Hayes follows in the prestigious footsteps of dominant Liberty defensive linemen. He follows Brett Cazares, who he played with, C.J. Cambra, Paul Vandergriff, Ben Cowger, Nick Voolstra and Drew Pearson. Hayes finished with 100 tackles and seven sacks in the past two years. He recorded nine tackles for losses. Many times you would see an offensive tackle in the backfield and wonder why he was by the quarterback and you would see No. 52 pushing him back.
Jr. D-Line Liberty
At the beginning, it was believed Portnoff was keeping the defensive end spot warm until Rojas was back from his foot injury. However, Portnoff worked his tail off and kept Rojas on offense. Portnoff was making plays in the backfield. He led the defensive line with 53 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for losses. He also had two sacks. He was jilted of a first team All-NSL honor and was named to the second team.
Sr. D-Line Madera
Along with his partners in the trenches, Eric Rey did the dirty work for the Madera Coyotes. Taking on blocks, stuffing the run and pressuring the quarterback, Rey could do it all for Madera. His partnership with William Childers proved to be a strong link as the two helped the Coyotes to an above .500 record along with a playoff berth.
Sr. D-Line Madera
Although a defensive lineman, William Childers flew around the ball. Childers was not only a rock stopping the run, he was a fearsome pass rusher giving the Coyotes defense flexibility. As a senior, he helped lead a Coyote defense that was one of the best in the league in the first half of the season. His ability to get pressure up the middle was key for all the players around him on defense.
Jr. D-Line Madera
The junior defensive lineman contributed to a very deep front. His size and strength proved costly to his opponents as he was able to not only rush the opposing quarterbacks, but also stop opposing runners as well. As a junior, Cook as an opportunity to be the main guy next season as he continues to improve. He was a second team All-CMAC selection.
Sr. D-Line Madera South
The Stallion defense had their moments this season and Matthew Bolanos was in the middle of it all. The senior lineman was a man amongst boys at times, taking on two blockers with ease, allowing his teammates to make plays on defense. His ability to generate pressure up the middle gave teams fits at times and wrecked drives.
Rylan Howe and Colton Cardozal
Sr. (Cardoza) ILB Liberty
Just like Batman and Robin, there was Howe and Cardoza. The two were the right match in the middle and opposites attract. Cardoza was the screamer while Howe was the silent type. Howe is built like a fireplug and Cardoza like the tight end he was. However, the two in the middle lead the Hawks’ tremendous defense. Howe led the team with 95 tackles, including 24 solo tackles. Cardoza was third on the team with 79 tackles, including 17 in one game. He even had four interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. Cardoza had six tackles for losses while Howe had seven. Both were named first team All-NSL. Cardoza also earned second team All-NSL as a punter while setting the school record with 37 yards per punt.
Sr. OLB Liberty
How Bucaroff didn’t earn a first team All-NSL honor is besides anyone associated with Liberty football. He was a force at outside linebacker. He could fly around the football and was probably one of the team’s surest tacklers. He was second on the team with 92 tackles and led the team with 37 solo tackles. He had nine tackles for losses. He was an All-NSL Honorable Mention, but should have been a first team selection.
Jr. OLB-DB Liberty
Porter was the Swiss Army Knife for the Hawks. He could play on the line or in the defensive backfield. He could come up and make the tackle or play in coverage. He was fourth on the team with 76 tackles and was tied for second with 24 solo tackles. he had five passes defended and made big hits after big hits. He was a second team All-NSL selection.
Sr. LB Madera South
Hansen was one of those players that just put his nose to the grindstone and did his job. He did his job so well that teams started to run away from him. He was the Stallions’ leading tackler and was one of the few bright spots on defense and on offense. Later in the year, head coach Matt Johson used Hansen more in the running game.
Jr. LB Madera
As a middle linebacker, communication and leadership are key. For Blake Skipper, those were his two best qualities. He wasn’t the tallest and he wasn’t the strongest, but he worked for his team on every snap. Skipper was a well-rounded athlete able not only stop the run, but rush the passer as well.
Jr. CB Liberty
Most of the time, the Liberty Hawks played man coverage. Even when they moved to zone coverage, they left their corners to play one-on-one with the opposing receivers. Miller was a big reason defensive coordinator Tyler Melvin felt comfortable doing that. Miller tied for the team lead and the school record with five interceptions. He earned a first team All-NSL selection.
Jr. CB Liberty
The transfer from Chowchilla had to wait half the season before he could get onto the field. He made an impact on both sides of the ball. He was a bruising runner on offense as Roth’s backup. On defense, he was the shutdown cornerback opposite Miller. In half a season, Stewart had 23 tackles and returned his only interception 47 yards. He was an All-NSL first team selection.
Sr. Safety Madera
Gonzalez may have been one of the shortest player on the defense for the Coyotes, but he was always around the football. He made numerous tackles and defended the pass. He could come up to the line and make the big hits like bigger players.
Sr. S-PK Liberty
Moon was the last line of defense for the Hawks. With the defense they had, it wasn’t always the busiest job. However, he made 34 tackles and tied with Miller for the team and school record with five interceptions. He was also credited with 12 passes defended and earned second team All-NSL selection. He also was an All-NSL honorable mention for receiver and kicker.
Sr. RB-Ret Madera South
Although Posas wasn’t used on offense as much as he could have been, he was explosive in the return game. He was the bright spot for the Stallions, providing excitement on special teams. He returned two opening kickoffs for touchdowns to set the Stallions up for success. Posas is a two-time All-Madera Tribune selection.