Madera wins playoff opener in sudden death

The Madera Coyotes boys soccer team was seconds away from heading to penalty kicks, but the team delivered a gut-wrenching dagger to El Diamante-Visalia on the last kick of the game, sealing a 3-2 win in the first round of the Div. II Central Section playoffs.

Miguel Gutierrez secured Madera’s stunning goal in the 110th minute, scoring with a header off a corner kick and sent the eighth-seeded Coyotes into a frenzy.

“That late in the game when you play a 100 minutes plus, it’s more mental than anything,” Madera coach Nic Landeros said. “We were telling the boys ‘whoever makes the mental mistake is gonna lose the game.’ We were just assuring them that our chances are gonna come.”

The Coyotes took a 2-0 lead in the first half with two goals by Jonah Hill. The ninth-seeded Miners scored an early goal in the second half and tied the game off a corner kick before the end of regulation. In overtime, El Diamante found itself down a player because of a red card.

“We were all over them.The only thing they could to stop our attack was foul, so one of their players got a double yellow card,” Landeros said.

With both teams failing to score in overtime, the game had to be decided in sudden death. Madera almost found a winner in the first five-minute sudden death period. But the Miners stayed alive when they cleared a shot off the goaline. Still, Gutierrez dashed El Diamante’s dreams in the second sudden death period.

“The way we were attacking, we knew a goal was going to come,” Landeros said. “It was just a matter of time. It took us the whole 110 minutes to do it.”

Although fatigue was setting in, the Coyotes felt prepared for the moment.

“The CMAC has prepared us for these playoff games,” Landeros said. “The rivalry games with Madera South and the big games with Sanger and Bullard, that definitely helps us.”

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