Coyotes battle back for first win
Manuel Guillen/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s J’Sean Gonzalez reaches up to haul in one of two touchdown catches in Madera’s come-from-behind 40-35 victory Friday over the Selma Bears.
The Madera Coyotes took the early lead, gave it up and took it back for a 40-35 victory over the Selma Bears.
The Coyotes got a standout rushing performance by Daniel Mendez, a well-controlled passing game from Ty Davis, and senior leadership by J’Sean Golzalez, who led the comeback.
“Our kids showed a lot of grit,” head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “Seeing a kid like J’Sean, who’s seen a lot for the past four years, to lead and talking to the guys about bouncing back, is great. The leadership he showed all week to will the guys together was great. We were down, but not out.”
With the Coyotes trailing by nine late in the game, Gonzalez scored on a screen pass for the go-ahead touchdown after recovering the onside kick.
“The guys stepped up. J’Sean had a great fourth quarter. Our seniors pulled together and refused to lose,” Paolinelli said.
Mendez rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown. Davis threw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a pair of touchdowns.
“We thought he (Mendez) wasn’t going to play,” Paolinelli said. “He gritted that thing out. He didn’t practice all week. He’s a tough kid and loves football. When those two things combine, it’s great.
“Ty has been playing quarterback pretty well. Timing and rhythm, he has been doing well. I was impressed with the way he played and the poise had had.”
The Coyotes looked like they were going to run away from the Bears. They scored the first two touchdowns of the game and answered Selma’s first score with a long pass play. However, Selma came back with three straight touchdowns before Madera started its comeback.
“We had some misfortunes, offensively, to start the second half and led to some momentum to them,” Paolinelli said. “We’re a young team. Thirty-seven of my 48 kids, it was their first varsity game last week. We’re just so green. You have to learn how to win. I was happy with the way we cleaned up the penalties this week. It was huge for us. It’s a game-changer in itself.”
Madera began its coring drive after Davis hit Izaak Lopez for a 23-yard gain. Lopez caught a 19-yard pass for another first down. Mendez scored from 15 yards out after breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage for a 6-0 lead.
After a Selma punt, the Coyotes began a 14-play, 82-yard drive for a 12-0 lead. J.J. lopez opened the drive with a 15-yard run. Davis carried for 10 and hit Gonzalez for 12-yards.
On fourth-and-goal from the three, Davis kept the option keeper for the touchdown. The point after was blocked for the second straight time and Madera led 12-0.
The Madera defense allowed Selma to go on a 10-play drive, but it was stalled in Coyotes’ territory.
After the Coyotes turned the ball over on downs, Selma scored on a quarterback keeper for a tochdwon and cut Madera’s lead to 12-7.
On the next offensive play, Davis hit Mendez in the flat. Mendez burst down the sideline after sidestepping a tackler at the line of scrimmage for a 65-yard touchdown.
Davis hit Julian Hernandez for the two-point conversion and a 20-7 lead at the half.
Selma opened the second half scoring with a 51-yard pass up the seam for a touchdown.
After the Coyotes muffed a handoff deep int heir own territory, Selma scored on a eight-play drive that ended with a fourth down, 23-yard pass completion in the end zone. The point after was good and Selma led 21-20.
“Defensively, we have a lot to clean up,” Paolinelli said. “We’re running a new defense. Kids are still getting comfortable in the scheme. That stuff is fixable. We could have played much harder on defense.”
The Bears kept the momentum with an 18-yard touchdown run to open the lead to 28-20 late in the third quarter.
Madera began to use the legs of Mendez to begin a scoring drive. Mendez carried for nine, five and 10 yards on consecutive carries. He then carried for four and three yards.
Davis hit Gonzalez for 10 yards on fourth-and-three, and hit Gonzalez for nine more. Gonzalez finished the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass from Davis to cut the lead to 28-26 after Davis was sacked on the conversion attempt.
The Bears didn’t let the Coyotes keep the momentum. They used a 42-yard quarterback run to get inside the Madera 10-yard line. Three plays later, the Bears scored from four yards out for a 35-26 lead.
Mendez gave the Coyotes the momentum back with a 20-yard run on the first play of the next drive. Davis hit Julius Torres for a first down. Gonzalez gained seven and 13 yards on two pass receptions.
Davis found Seth Pierson for 11 yards to the four-yard line. Three plays later, Davis kept it himself into the end zone for the touchdown. However, Madera couldn’t convert on the point after and trailed 35-32.
Gonzalez recovered the onside kick attempt and scored on a screen pass from about 25 yards out to give the Coyotes the lead. Davis hit Lopez in the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 40-35 lead.
Selma still had a chance to score. However, on fourth-and-seven, Josh Marchan ended Selma’s comeback attempt with a game-sealing interception and the Coyotes ran out the clock for their first win.