Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Jonah Hill (8) congratulates Adrian Rocha (10) after Rocha scored the go-ahead goal in a victory over the Clovis West Golden Eagles.
With an early second half goal, the Madera Coyotes boys soccer team gave head coach Nic Landeros his most satisfying coaching victory in his young career.
Landeros was a Coyotes goalkeeper during the fierce Madera-Clovis West rivalry that got so intense, teams needed police escorts to the games. Landeros played with some of the Clovis West season during the club season, but when they faced each other for their schools, all friendship went out the window.
Adrian Rocha’s second half goal gave the Coyotes the only lead they would need and it gave Landeros a victory he could smile about on Jan. 28.
“For me, it feels so good,” Landeros said. “I can’t remember the last time we beat Clovis West. It was probably about four years ago. It feels good.”
Landeros feels his team is ready to battle for the top spot of a loaded County/Metro Athletic Conference with all six teams with a chance to win the league championship.
“This team, Clovis West, is going to be at the level of any team in the CMAC,” Landeros said. “So to beat Clovis West and Clovis and to lose by one to Buchanan shows the CMAC we’re ready to compete and battle for the top spot.
“We are 8-3-2 heading into the CMAC and two of our losses were at the beginning of the season. It’s a lot of hard work for these guys and buying into the program and buying into the philosophy. It shows.”
Neither team had any quality chances in the first half while battling the winter cold.
Action picked up in the second half, particularly in the eighth minute. Miguel Gutierrez got the ball at about 25 yards near the sideline. He sent a shot on goal, but it was blocked by the Clovis West goalkeeper.
Rocha came in on the back side and ran towards the loose ball. He sent the ball high on goal and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“We practice everyday delayed runs in the box,” Landeros said. “What we do in training sessions is being implemented into the field. It’s showing with the results.”
Clovis West battled for the equalizer, but only had one good chance on goal.
In the 23rd minute, Clovis West got a free kick on the left. The cross was blocked out twice by the Coyotes’ defense and finally cleared out.
The Coyotes defense battled tough and kept the Golden Eagles out of the net for the rest of the match to ensure a 1-0 non-conference victory.