The Madera Coyotes football team gave head coach Kenny Paolinelli his second victory of his career, but this time without as much suspense as his first week in a 33-21 win over the Kerman Lions.
However, Paolinelli said there were some tense moments, especially after his team fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter.
“We got down early,” he said. “We had to wake up a little bit. It was our first road game and we responded well. We kind of found our groove after the first quarter.”
The Coyotes scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and led 20-14 at the break.
After Kerman took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter, the Coyotes responded with two touchdowns, including one from Isaiah Martinez to put the game away.
“We made a lot of mistakes and we’re nowhere near where we want to be,” Paolinelli said. “There are things we still need to clean up. It was good to see some success.”
Jerry Sanchez scored three rushing touchdowns and Marco Lopez scored on a 39-yard reception.
“I like winning,” Paolinelli said. “It was a really good road win for us. We faced a lot of adversity with some questionable officiating. It was a pretty sloppy game by us. Seeing our kids fight through that was good. It was a hostile environment so it was a good road win. Any time you can get a road win is a good win.”
Paolinelli and the Coyotes will next battle the Merced Bears on Friday in the Governor’s Hat game. The winner of the game eceives a cowboy hat worn by former California governor Goodwin Knight who attended a game between the two schools and gave the winning team his cowboy hat. Merced won the game last year and Paolinelli wants to get it back.
“It’s a huge game for us.’ Paolinelli said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching ever since I’ve coached here. We want to get that hat back. Hosting that hat up at the end of the game is something to be remembered. Our kids are excited about that. We’re fired up. We want the hat back.”
Last year, the Bears reclaimed the hat after a 63-36 victory in Merced.
“They are always ultra athletic,” Paolinelli said. “They have an explosive athlete at running back. Our emphasis is to rally to the ball and make the tackles. We missed too many tackles last year. They have their quarterback from last year coming back. He can throw the ball a little bit.
“They are going to give us a lot of man coverage so we will be looking how to use that. They have a good middle linebacker so we will try to work around him and run downhill.”
Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Stadium on Lee DaSilva Field.