Coyotes’ comeback attempt falls short
Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Madera receiver Logan Wattenbarger makes the catch in the end zone to put the Coyotes in position to tie Saturday’s game at 21 before losing in overtime to the Edison Tigers.
After clawing back with a second-half push, the Madera Coyotes football team failed to make a game-winning field goal with three seconds left in regulation.
Coyotes’ defensive stalwart Ricky Garcia picked off the Edison Tigers with three minutes remaining in the game, setting up a close finish for the Coyotes in a 24-21 overtime loss.
With the score tied at 21, senior David Zavala and his Coyotes marched down the field looking to end the game and send Madera fans home with something to cheer about on Saturday’s Senior Night.
Zavala orchestrated an eight-play drive that started with an accurate 15-yard pass to Ramon Ruiz Jr. Edison tried their best to pressure Zavala and the Coyote offense, but Zavala’s mobility allowed Madera to overcome. Zavala passed for more 150 yards and scored two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground.
Zavala followed up his early strike to find his top target Raul Medrano, who faced tough secondary coverage, but his ability to find separation allowed him to get open when needed, including on the last drive of the game.
Despite Zavala and the passing attack, Madera’s ability to run the ball and run it for yards gave them a consistent threat throughout the game.
Jeremiah Sanchez carried the rock over 20 times, but his three carries on the final drive might’ve been his most important.
Sanchez might’ve had less than 20 total yards on the last drive of the game, but his ability to keep his legs churning put the Coyotes in a position to win the game.
After back-to-back carries by Sanchez, Zavala opened up and found Logan Wattenbarger streaking across the field for a 40-yard pass.
Madera brought the ball down inside the five-yard line before letting the clock run to three seconds.
Richard Lozano stepped up to take the game-winning kick and missed left, sending the game to overtime.
Madera had a chance, taking the ball first in overtime. Zavala scored on an quick snap quarterack sneak, but the Coyotes weren’t line-up properly and the touchdown was nulified. Two plays later, Zavala was picked off on fourth down.
The Tigers drove down the field and made their field goal to win the game.
Sanchez finished the day more than 100 yards on more than 20 carries on the ground.
Wattenberger showcased his importance to the team as well with multiple plays made on defense, and big catches on offense as one of Zavala’s main receivers, along with Medrano, who also had a handful of catches.
The game opened up in a defensive battle in the first quarter.
Neither the Tigers nor Coyotes could take an advantage until late in the second quarter.
After a 12-play drive fizzled out due to consecutive holding penalties, the Coyotes were forced to punt late in the second quarter.
The ball was returned to Edison and cashed in for a 55-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.
Edison took the lead into the break and later came out of the break intercepting Zavala off a blocked pass. The Tigers scored from five yards out for a 14-0 lead.
Madera took over and capped off a nine-play drive with a Zavala touchdown run. Sanchez carried the load with multiple carries on the drive, but Zavala called his own number.
Down by a touchdown, the Coyotes followed with a short kick on the kickoff. The Tigers couldn’t handle the kickoff and fumbled. Madera recovered and turned it into a touchdown.
Garcia picked up the loose ball on the kickoff. Five plays later, on fourth down, Zavala found J’Sean Gonzales for a five-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. Madera cut the deficit to 14-13 after a penalty forced the Coyotes extra point back further, resulting in a miss.
It would not be long before the Tigers responded.
On the first play of the next drive, Edison scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead, 21-13.
Madera wasn’t ready to bow out as a 14-play drive put Zavala and the Coyotes right back into the driver’s seat.
Seven carries for Sanchez steadied the offense and allowed the Coyotes to keep Edison on its toes. Zavala highlighted the drive with a 15-yard pass to Medrano and a 17-yard run to reach a first down. His best play was a an accurate touchdown pass on the run to Wattenbarger on fourth-and-three in the end zone for the potential game-tying score.
Zavala rolled to his right and found Ruiz, Jr. in the end zone for the two-point conversion and the tie.
Garcia’s interception in Coyote territory helped, not only stall the Edison drive, but started a potential game-winning drive in regulation.
The Coyotes now look towards their next contest against Madera South in the Stadium Road Showdown in Memorial Stadium.