Wendy AlexanderThe Madera Tribune
Madera receiver Marco Lopez shakes off a Chowchilla tackler to score a touchdown during a scrimmage Friday.
It was a fumble-fest in the first of half of the scrimmage between the Madera Coyotes and Chowchilla Tribe football teams.
Madera forced the first fumble in the second quarter Friday night, setting up a Coyotes’ rushing touchdown from inside the 10-yard line.
Chowchilla fumbled, again, on the next possession, helping Madera set up in prime position for another score.
However, it was Chowchilla who forced the fumble the next time and returned it ball 90 yards for a touchdown.
“I know it’s a product of the early season, getting the kinks out.” Madera head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “We don’t want that stuff to happen, but we got it fixed. Hopefully, next week the ball won’t be on the ground as much as it was tonight.”
Chowchilla held the ball for a large portion of the first quarter and drove inside the 20-yard line. But they found themselves moving back after a couple of penalties, leading to a turnover on downs.
“That’s what a scrimmage is for. The speed steps up a big notch. Things that you would get away with against your scout team in practice, you don’t get away with out here,” Chowchilla head coach Alex Pittz said. “That raises the stakes and causes some mental and physical mistakes.”
Paolinelli said he was happy to see his defense hold up despite staying on the field for a long time.
“I think it was a good test of some adversity for us,” Paolinelli said. “They were eating up the clock and it tested our mental toughness as well as our conditioning. I thought our defense held up and was able to get stops at an important time.”
The Coyotes came out on fire in the second half, going 80 yards in less than three minutes and capping it off with a 10-yard touchdown catch.
Madera put together another along drive later in the third quarter, but it ended with an interception in the endzone.
“I feel okay with where we are at conditioning wise, but we have to fix some things,” Pittz said. “We have to pursue the ball better and put four quarters together.”
The Coyotes added one more touchdown before the final whistle in the fourth quarter.
“Once they started playing within themselves and running the offense, we were perfectly fine,” Paolinelli said. “You saw that thing moving. Our conditioning showed up too. We want to play fast, so it was good to see us calm down and just play ball.”
Madera High will kick off the season at home against Washington Union on Friday. Chowchilla will also kick off at home Friday against Fresno High School.