Madera Tribune File Photo
Madera kicker Evan Rios swings his leg on a game-winning 37-yard field goal for a 32-31 win over Bullard in 2014. Rios kicked four field goals in the game, including a 51-yarder.
At one point, the Madera Coyotes were facing a 15-point deficit against the Bullard-Fresno Knights, but a fourth-quarter rally by the Coyotes gave the team its first victory over the Knights in 20 years.
The County/Metro Athletic Conference-opening showdown between the Coyotes (6-0) and Knights (3-3) at McLane Stadium went down to the wire. In the end, it came down to junior kicker Evan Rios’ 37-yard field goal that lifted the Coyotes to a 32-31 victory.
“It’s very satisfying,” head coach Bonner Cunnings said of the victory. “Coach Arax has got a real good program. We haven’t beat Bullard in 20 years. For us to come up two divisions and take out a really solid playoff team like Bullard is a lot for our kids. It shows how hard they work, and their coaches.”
The Coyotes were able to overcome crucial mistakes throughout the game that resulted in Knight touchdowns.
After a Knights’ three-and-out, the Coyotes’ game-winning drive began on the Knights’ 40-yard line. On third-and-seven at the 43, a play-action pass fooled the Knights’ defense, as Nathaniel Nelson hit Kris Bueno for 12 yards. On a halfback option pass, Alec Gamboa found receiver Mason McKinney down the sideline for 18 yards to the Knights’ 27-yard line. Three plays later, Rios booted the game-winning 37-yard field goal that made it 32-31.
“He’s such a blessing from God,” Cunnings said of Rios. “There’s no question whenever we get into his range whether he’s going to make it. He’s always right down the middle.”
Hawks make quick work of Badgers
OAKHURST — By the time the dust settled, the Liberty Hawks, ranked No. 20 overall and No. 2 in Div. IV, scored early and often in an 83-7 victory over the Yosemite Badgers.
The Hawks scored touchdowns on all 12 possessions. Meanwhile, the defense did its work, allowing just 43 yards on 46 plays while the Hawks scored on almost half of their plays.
Nine different players scored for the Hawks, including three for the first time this season — Wyatt Sanders, Johnny Faccinto and Eddie Green — to set a new school record for points scored in a game and margin of victory. Both were set in a season-opening 70-6 win over Firebaugh.
Wade Wallace scored on all three touches of the ball as the Hawks gained 354 yards of total offense. Quarterback Zach Richey was 6-for-6 with 132 yards and three touchdowns.
C.J. Cambra led a defense that recorded 20 tackles for losses for 74 yards. He had nine tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack. Luke Cullins had seven tackles with three tackles for losses. Chad Wallace returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown for a school record seventh defensive touchdown of the season.
Even special teams got in the action. Although they didn’t score a touchdown, Eli Soliz returned a kickoff 75 yards. Logan Pierce returned punts of 34 and 22 yards to set up quick touchdowns. Kicker James Hernandez hit his first 11 extra points before the 12th was blocked. He also sent six of 13 kickoffs into the end zone for touchback and made a touchdown-saving tackle on another.
Hawks start new winning streak
After the Liberty Hawks’ state-best 22-game winning streak was halted last week, Liberty football coach Mike Nolte said the rest of his team’s season hinged on how well they bounced back from the loss.
Nolte has a little less to worry about after the Hawks bounced back from a 41-21 loss to Madera South on Oct. 2 to rout the Yosemite-Oakhurst Badgers 42-6 to open North Sequoia League play.
“Our kids responded well and played hard,” Nolte said. “That’s all I want them to do. We played hard last week, but they were better than we were that day. It took us a day or two to get going. I was proud that we finally got going. You have to put things behind you and move forward and our kids did a good job of doing that.”
Although the Badgers doubled the amount of plays Liberty ran, the Hawks almost doubled the Badgers on yardage. Yosemite ran off 56 plays for 218 yards (3.9 yards per play. Meanwhile, the Hawks ran off just 27 plays (five for touchdowns) and gained 379 yards (14 yards per play).
“It’s a challenge to play slow,” Nolte said. “Our kids are trained to go. When they slow it down, it takes it away. Our kids did a great job of getting to the football and were the more physical football team tonight.”
Chad Wallace scored two touchdowns and gained 164 yards on just seven carries (23.4 yards per carry). Kaleb Roth had 94 yards of total offense and quarterback Markie Brandt completed five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
Local runners show promise in big meet
Come late November, the Madera South cross country teams would love to have both of their boys and girls squads competing at Fresno’s Woodward Park — home of the CIF state championships.
While it wasn’t quite the state meet, the 37th Clovis/Asics Invitational had a similar feel to it for the Stallion runners.
In a meet that drew a large number of schools from all over the nation, Madera South wasn’t intimidated and ran with the some of the best teams in the region.
Fresh off a Nike Portland XC championship win, Madera South senior Eduardo Herrera showed he could outdo himself with yet another record performance.
Although he couldn’t pass Arcadia’s Phillip Rocha (14:58) in the boys championship race, Herrera (15:01) came in second and tied the Central Section’s all-time best senior class mark.
Miguel Villar (20th, 15:44), Victor Ochoa (55th, 16:11), Nicholas Hernandez (76th, 16:23) and Michael Ochoa (95th, 16:37) all helped the seven-time defending section champion Stallions place fifth overall with a total time of 1:19.57.40 while Great Oak (1:17:58.10) won the race.
The Stallions girls (1:42.00) took second in the Div. I race led by freshman Veronica Ortega (ninth, 19:34.8), Jonnie Montano (12th, 19:37.1), Angelica Costilla (21st, 20:08.9), Savaanah Garcia (24th, 20:15.7) and Adamaris Vargas (122, 22:23.5).
Coyotes win subdued match
The Madera Coyotes girls volleyball team headed into its rivalry match with the Madera South Stallions as the heavy favorites and lived up to expectations with a three-set victory to close out an undefeated first half of the County/Metro Athletic Conference season.
“This is the last match of the first round of CMAC,” Madera head coach Meghan Haas said. “It’s good to go into the second half 5-0 and to do it in three is a good thing.”
While the Coyotes are rolling, the Stallions are still trying to find its way with a starting lineup that features just one senior.
“We want to improve each day,” Stallions head coach Travis McEowen said. “We need to grow each day. We want to grow for playoffs. We’re not looking at wins and losses. Our young girls are getting a lot of court time. We just want to grow and develop.”
Katelyn Siegl led the Coyotes with a match-high 10 kills. Hallie Page added nine and Isabella Saucedo added seven more in the sweep.
“We wanted to take care of our side of the court,” Haas said. “A lot of times, it’s going to win us a volleyball game.”
Freshman Arelis Chavez led the Stallions with six kills.
“We made some mistakes. When you play a team like Madera, you have to play a perfect game,” McEowen said. “One mistake and they will take advantage of it. They have all the things clicking right now.”
The Coyotes outscored the Stallions 75-43 in the three sets and put away the Stallions early in each set.