Coyotes dominate for historic win
Manuel Guillen/The Madera Tribune
Madera’s J’Sean Gonzalez gathers in an onsides kick, which led to another Madera touchdown, in Friday’s historic victory over the Edison Tigers.
FRESNO — The Madera Coyotes football team didn’t use a late arrival to stall them in picking up its first County/Metro Athletic Conference victory (other than Madera South) since 2013 and its first victory over Edison-Fresno since 2004.
The Coyotes jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 34-14 victory Friday nigthat Ratcliffe Stadium to ruin Edison’s Senior Night festivities.
“It’s really sweet as one I’ve had as a head coach,” head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “It’s a culmination of the last year-and-a-half.”
In fact, the last time the Coyotes beat Edison, Paolinelli was a junior quarterback with the Coyotes.
“Any time you can go against a team like that with a bunch of Div. I athletes, our kids worked did what they could do to beat them,” he said. “Our kids came out every day and worked their butts off. We were just this close last year. That gave our guys confidence of we’re right there. To come out here and play the way we played, it’s phenomenal.”
The offense grinded out the victory. They ran 84 plays against the Edison defense while gaining 312 yards. They earned 25 first downs and nine came on Edison penalties.
The Madera defense stepped up just like the offense. They allowed 268 yards of total offense. However, 141 came on two touchdown plays. On the other 43 plays, Edison gained just 127 yards, about three yards per play, on average.
“Our game plan hasn’t changed the past two weeks,” defensive ccoordinator Tim Mejia said. “Playing Memorial allowed us to see the fastest team you could see. We have a system and we trust it. The kids worked and had a great two weeks of practice. We ran our base and fundamentals. Our kids have grinded the past three weeks.”
The defense also produced two turnovers and held the Tigers to 0-for-10 on third down conversions and 0-for-4 on fourth down conversions.
“We just pursued the football tonight,” Mejia said. “That’s something you preach in the summer. They had a couple of catches. Us pursuing the football with great speed and good form tackling separated the ball for incomplete passes. It was fun to see.”
Madera quarterback Beau Green threw for 230 yards to seven different receivers and three touchdowns. Running back Jason Escobar gained 76 yards on the ground and receiver Logan Wattenbarger caught eight passes for 124 yards. Madera’s five touchdowns were scored by four different players. Watterbarger caught two touchdown passes and J’Sean Gonzalez caught the other. Escobar and Adam Landero each rushed for a touchdown.
“They did exactly what we saw on film,” Paolinelli said. “We knew what we wanted to do to attack that. Those things popped for us. It’s a testament for our offensive line because they gave us time. Beau, in his second week back, was in rhythm a lot more, made some great reads and finished plays for us.”
Penalties also hurt both teams, but more Edison in the second half. In the first half, Madera was called for 10 penalties, but ended up with 12 for 110 yards. However, Edison imploded in the second half. They were flagged 12 times in the second half. Total, the Tigers were flagged for 22 penalties for 191 yards, including five face mask penalties.
After a trade in punts, the Coyotes, who had 14 offensive possessions, got moving in the first quarter. Escobar gained two on fourth-and-one to keep the drive going. Green found Seth Pierson for 18 yards and a first down.
Three plays later, Landero, taking the direct snap, called his own number, found a hole on the left and ran by the Edison defense for a 23-yard touchdown run.
The Tigers had their drive extended by a roughing the kicker penalty. However, Matthew Arrezola stuffed the Edison ball carrier for a loss of four and the Tigers turned the ball over on downs.
Early in the second quarter, Greg De La Cerda stuffed Edison for a loss of five. on the next play, Gonzalez picked off the Edison quarterback.
Green found Wattenbarger for 10 yards. However, the Coyotes faced a fourth-and-10 from the 40-yard-line. Green went for the home run. He found Gonzalez going across the field to the right sideline and hit him in stride from about 25 yards out. Gonzalez caught the ball at the 20 and ran, untouched, into the end zone for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead after a Richard Lozano extra point.
Lozano executed an onsides kick to perfection and Gonzalez made a leaping grab at the free ball for the recovery.
After a pass interference penalty on Edison on third-and-14, the Coyotes kept their drive alive. Green found Landero for 23-yards to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Wattenbarger beat the press coverage and Green found the wide open receiver. He was almost too wide open because Green almost overthrew Wattenbarger, who had to make a lunging fingertip grab for the touchdown and a 20-0 lead after Lozano’s PAT was blocked.
The Coyotes forced a punt and took over at their own eight. Ten plays later, the Coyotes were in the end zone. Escobar caught a screen pass for 13-yards and a first down. A face mask penalty gave the Coyotes another first down.
Green found Wattenbarger open for a 42-yard gain. Another face mask penalty gave the Coyotes a first-and-goal from the six. Escobar gained four and scored from a yard out with two minutes left for a 27-0 lead after Lozano made the extra point.
Madera got into Edison territory near the end of the first half, but Lozano’s 41-yard field goal was tipped and the ball went wide.
“We were confident going into the locker room,” Paolinelli said. “I was unhappy at how many times we were penalized in the first half. I thought, offensively, we executed our game plan really well.”
Edison opened the first half with a drive to the Madera 19-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs.
The Coyotes were hit with a personal foul penalty and had to punt on fourth-and-30.
Four plays later, Edison hit a long bomb for a 62-yard touchdown.
After a trade in punts, the Coyotes tried to sustain a drive. They converted on a fourth down and third down, but had to punt on fourth-and-24.
It took Edison three plays to find the end zone with a 79-yard touchdown catch-and-run on a tunnel screen with eight minutes left in the game to cut Madera’s lead to 27-14.
On the next play, a bad snap led to an Edison fumble recovery on the Madera 23-yard line.
Josh Griffin stuffed Edison for a loss of one. Edison threw incomplete twide and faced a fourth-and-11. Edison completed a short pass, but Arrezola tackled the ball carrier after a seven-yard gain to turn the ball over on downs.
“My heart sunk after the turnover,” Mejia said. “Being here for 15 years, we’ve had a lot of close games with Edison. When I saw that, we just have to play our base and not overthink it. The kids rose to the occasion.”
The Coyotes put the game away on their next drive. They drove 82 yards on 11 plays to put the exclamation mark on the win.
Green found Wattenbarger for 15 yards on third-and-nine. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Coyotes another first down. A roughing the passer penalty extended the Madera drive to the 18-yard line.
Two plays later, Green found Wattenbarger over the middle for a 16-yard touchdown pass and a 34-14 victory.