Stallions Cook up first win for head coach
Madera Tribune File Photo Madera South head coach Dane Cook talks to his team after they won their first game of the season and also gave him his first varsity head coaching victory in 2014.
EXETER — With the Madera South football team trailing Exeter 19-7 midway through the third quarter in a road game, the Stallions lined up for a punt on a fourth-and-15 from their own 27-yard line.
A high snap that went above Madera South punter Cristian Guillen’s head forced the senior to track down the ball before being tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Having to punt from their own 20-yard line, the wheels appeared to be falling off for a Stallion team that entered the game with three straight losses to open the season and was facing a three-win Exeter squad that was considered the third best in Div. IV.
“It was looking pretty bleak there,” Stallion head coach Dane Cook said.
After a kickoff return to the Madera South 24-yard line by Exeter stud senior Alex Cortez, the Monarchs were going for the kill shot.
Exeter quarterback Javier Brito, who completed 15-of-23 passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns on the night, threw a deep pass down the left sideline for Cortez.
Rather than allow Cortez to eventually catch the spirit-crushing touchdown, Madera South junior safety Angel Avila hustled to the ball and picked off the pass at the Exeter 4-yard line.
Two plays later, the Stallions got a big jolt on 92-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jonah Johnson to Gullien, sparking the Stallions back to life.
That momentum helped Madera South finish the game on a 22-7 run, which included the game-winning two-point conversion run by Johnson, who also scored on a 4th-and-goal two-yard run in Stallions’ 29-28 victory at Exeter.
Hawks beat rivals, stay undefeated
The Liberty Hawks defense came close the previous three games and finally held tough to post its first shutout of the season with a 35-0 victory over the rival Fowler Redcats.
In Liberty’s final game before three road games and a bye week, the Hawks scored five touchdowns and hit a field goal for the victory. The defense held the Redcats to 27 yards and two completions and just 129 yards of total offense.
Wade Wallace led the offense with 126 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Danny Cervantes, Richie Brandt and Sawyer Howe each scored a touchdown. Zach Richey was 8-of-13 for 98 yards and threw two touchdowns.
Any chance at a Fowler comeback was erased during a three touchdown third quarter that put the game away.
The defense forced three Fowler turnovers. An interception by Luke Cullins and fumble recoveries from Richie Brandt, Kendall Malone and Trevor Stephens helped limit the Redcats to just 102 yards rushing.
Madera teams still seeking answers
Heading into the Madera Classic Volleyball tournament, the Madera Coyotes, Madera South Stallions and Liberty Hawks girls volleyball teams were hoping to keep progressing on their seasons and get ready for league seasons.
The Coyotes enjoyed a 4-0 first day of the tournament and were one of four teams competing for the tournament title in the Gold Division.
Meanwhile, the Stallions and Hawks earned berths in the Silver Division to determine No. 5-8. However, only the Hawks advanced to the championship match at Madera South, losing a two-set match with Edison-Fresno, a team they will see later.
Madera lost in the Gold Division semifinals to Tehachapi and lost in the consolation match to Independence-Bakersfield.
“We can play with those teams,” head coach Robyn Royston said. “My team was mentally never here, not one second of today. We’re physically capable of playing with those teams. We’ve played with both of those teams. Today, it was one of those days.”
The Stallions lost in two sets to Edison and dropped the consolation match to Sierra-Tollhouse.
Stallions shut down Exeter
For the second game in a row, the Madera South football team denied its opponent a trip to the end zone.
With the defense posting its second straight shutout, the Stallions scored three touchdowns in its home debut against Exeter.
With the Channel 47 news station on hand, the Stallions were also named the Carl’s Jr. Team of the Week following Friday night’s win.
“I thought we got better and played pretty well,” Stallion head coach Dane Cook said of his team’s 21-0 victory over the previously undefeated Monarchs.
Hawks survive against rival
FOWLER — The Liberty Hawks used a 33-point second half to keep the state’s longest winning streak in tact in a victory over rival Fowler.
The Hawks improved to 3-0 on the season behind quarterback Markie Brandt’s first-ever three touchdown game for a 40-37 win. The win was the closest margin of victory for the Hawks in a 21-game winning streak and the closest in a win since a 14-13 victory over Madera South in 2013.
“It was a classic Liberty-Fowler football game,” Liberty head coach Mike Nolte said. “It’s always a battle when we play them and tonight wasn’t an exception.”
The Hawks got 100-yard rushing games from Jackson Watts (124 yards) and Chad Wallace (149), 93 yards from fullback Kyle Higginbotham and 71 more from Brandt.