Coyotes give coach first win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s Jayson Regua leaps into the end zone to score the first touchdown in Friday’s 30-24 victory over Mission Oak.
Persistence finally paid off for the Madera Coyotes football team after a close 30-24 victory over the Mission Oak Hawks in a non-conference game in Memorial Stadium.
“It feels great,” said Madera head coach Yosef Fares, who picked up his first head coaching victory. “We’ve been chasing this one and working hard. It’s more for these kids. These kids have been working so hard. Last year’s team worked so hard, but it just avoided us. It was good to get that monkey off our back. I’m just more proud of them.”
The Coyotes scored 17 unanswered points before the Hawks used big plays of 93, 91 and 73 to pull themselves back into the game. Behind Jayson Regua’s 133 rushing yards and Micheal Brocchini’s energy on defense, the Coyotes weathered the storm and secured their first win of the season.
“We make our practices and our program adversity-based,” Fares said. “We create a lot of adversity so when we got hit with adversity today, we responded well and fought through it. There have been times in the past where we’ve folded when adversity hit, but they stuck together, focused on the key situations and we played football.”
The Coyotes opened up the contest with three consecutive pass attempts. Colt Nelson connected with Regua and J.J. Espinoza. but the Coyotes sputtered in the red zone, which led to a missed fourth down conversion.
Mission Oak took over on its own side of the field and suffered the same fate. The visitors went three-and-out and were forced to punt.
The Coyotes relied on Regua, who rushed four times on the drive, culminating in a seven-yard touchdown plunge to give his team the lead before the first quarter expired leading 7-0.
The action picked up after Espinoza scooped up a fumble and took it back 20 yards to give his team good field position, but the Coyotes were unable to capitalize.
The second quarter began to heat up after Jerry Hernandez entered the game, reenergizing the Coyote offense. Hernandez caught a pass for 25 yards that set up what turned out to be a missed field goal attempt by sophomore kicker Breesa Mesa.
Hernandez later hooked up with Nelson in the second quarter for a four-yard touchdown catch to push the lead to 14-0.
After another scoreless drive by the Hawks, the Coyotes put more points on the board. Mesa converted her second attempt of the game, a 33-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-0 just before the half ended.
The Coyotes took a double-digit lead into the locker room behind Regua, who rushed for 95 yards and a score in the first half.
The second half began with a bang for Mission Oak. After a negative play, the Hawks followed it with a 93-yard touchdown pass from Zach Wilson to Jeremiah Jefferson. Jefferson stayed on his feet and sprinted 40 yards for the score.
The Coyotes almost answered back with a kickoff return touchdown by Espinoza. He took it more than 80 yards, but the return was called back by a personal foul penalty.
The Coyotes settled for the extra 35 yards. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize on the good field position in a three-and-out.
The visitors continued to keep the momentum after a loss turned into a huge gain when Maurice Villapudua looked certain for a loss on the run but stayed on his feet and sprinted down the field 60 yards untouched to cut the lead to 17-14 midway through the third quarter.
The Coyotes answered right back after Joziah Velasquez took the kickoff more than 70 yards down the field to the one-yard line. He finished what he started with a two-yard touchdown dive.
The visitors wouldn’t be outdone, though. The opposing coaching staff drew up a flea-flicker that worked to perfection. Receiver Jefferson caught a pass from Wilson that faked the entire Coyote defense for a 73-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
The Coyotes tightened up after the visitors missed a field goal. The Coyotes capitalized on good field position and punched it in for the game-leading touchdown. Velazquez continued to flash his speed and quickness with a seven-yard run off the tackle into the end zone to end the Madera scoring.
The Coyotes finished off the game after Anthony Gonzalez broke through the line and sacked the opposing quarterback to end the game and give Fares his first varsity football coaching victory.