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Panthers stun Coyotes in opener

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera running back Jeremiah Sanchez bursts through the Washington Union defense to score Madera’s first touchdown of the season in Friday’s loss.


The Madera Coyotes football team fell behind quickly in its season opener against Washington Union and never recovered in Memorial Stadium.

Down 14-0 in the second quarter, Madera scored its first touchdown on a rushing touchdown by Jeremiah Sanchez. The Coyotes added another touchdown in the second half, but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Panthers pulled away for a 42-14 win Friday night.

“We just lacked execution in key situations tonight so we will focus on situational execution this week in practice,” Madera head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “We have to stay positive. We had a lot of stuff open. We just didn’t make the plays. We’ll get there.”

The Coyotes especially hurt themselves in the third quarter, committing three consecutive penalties.

First, it was a personal foul against Madera’s defense which gave the Panthers 15 yards. The Coyotes followed up with a five-yard penalty and a 15-yard roughing the passer infraction.

Taking advantage of Madera’s self-inflicted wounds, the Panthers marched down the field and ended the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence Stell to Canaan Campbell.

“There were a few penalties that I didn’t like that they called. You’re not gonna agree with every call, but hopefully, we just focus on our fundamentals and get those things right,” Paolinelli said. “Those late hits and those things, that’s just being more disciplined on our part. We’ll condition them for that and they’ll get more disciplined.”

The Coyotes also mishandled a punt in the third quarter, causing a turnover on downs and gave the ball to the Panthers at the Coyotes’ 28-yard line.

Washington Union capped the drive with a five-yard connection from Jayden Green to Tory Horton, making the score 35-7.

“It’s a young football team. We have three guys that have played varsity football out of the whole team that have actually had meaningful snaps, so we’re learning as we go,” Paolinelli said.

The Panthers forced an interception in the fourth quarter and added another score when fullback Andrew Rivera rushed for a 12-yard touchdown.

Madera’s David Zavala rushed for a 14-yard touchdown later in the quarter to give the Coyotes their second touchdown of the game.

Rivera then busted a 30-yard run late in the game to help the Panthers run out the clock.

Green finished the game with 87 passing yards. Running back Darius McCray helped the Panthers with four receptions for 58 yards, while Calvin Ervin contributed with two receptions for 19 yards and a touchdown catch.

Zavala totaled 53 passing yards for the Coyotes, while Sanchez carried 18 times for 115 yards. Raul Medrano caught three passes for 24 yards.

“This is a very tight group. I don’t foresee them not bouncing back in the right way,” Paolinelli said. “This group likes to work. We’re all going to put our heads down and go to work.”


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