Coyotes fall on the road to Merced
Manuel Guillen/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyotes defense stuff a Merced runner during Thursday’s loss to the Bears.
Thursday night’s contest in Merced didn’t go as planned for the Madera Coyotes football team.
After a hot start beating Selma and then with a home-opening victory over Kerman, the Coyotes were unable to keep that momentum with a 41-13 loss to the Merced Bears.
Unfortunately for the Coyotes, losing star quarterback and leader Beau Green in the first quarter to an injury took the air out of the offense, allowing the Bears to build a lead the Coyotes couldn’t claw back from.
“It was deflating. He is our unquestioned leader and when you lose a guy like that, it obviously takes the air out of you a little bit and we felt that. I thought we battled, but we were sloppy all around,” Madera head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “Too many dumb penalties: holding, false starts. We didn’t have a series offensively that we didn’t have a penalty until the second half. Overall, it is very deflating when something like that happens.”
Madera’s Ramon Ruiz highlighted the night with an 80-yard touchdown return in the first quarter that gave the Coyotes some hope in the first half. Ruiz took the kick at his own 20 and immediately turned up field.
Ruiz’s combination of speed and agility allowed him to wave through Merced defenders before celebrating in the end zone.
The Coyotes found the end zone only one more time late in the game as sophomore quarterback Ty Davis found Seth Pierson for an 18-yard touchdown.
Davis took over in the first half for Green and played his first-ever varsity snaps. Davis’ ability to step in right away is indicative of the Coyotes next-man-up mentality.
“He had no snaps in varsity practice this week, so for him to step in and do what he did for us tonight was very impressive,” Paolinelli said. “He showed poise and he battled through adversity, which he faced a lot and I thought he handled it really well. We threw a lot on him.”
Despite allowing 41 points, the Madera defense did what they could to slow down a fast Bears team. With the offense unable to sustain drives, the defense found themselves on the field often.
Adam Landero played some offense Thursday, but came up big in the second half, saving a touchdown as he intercepted a ball lofted into the middle of the end zone.
“Despite the score, we have a great group of kids. We definitely had some adversity today and were a bit shell-shocked early. Merced did a few things that were unique to us, especially against our scheme, but they battled,” Coyotes defensive coordinator Tim Mejia said. “Our kids are going to fight through this adversity and get better moving forward.”
The game opened in favor of the Merced Bears as an early score put the Coyotes in an unusual situation.
Down 14-0 before they even got going, the Coyotes were eager and ready to put some points on the board. In two games prior, the Coyotes put up over 60 points of offense.
But, after a knee injury knocked Green out of the game, the Coyotes were left searching for answers on offense while the Coyotes’ defense was constantly on the field.
Ruiz pulled a score back immediately after the Bears pushed the lead in the first quarter.
Ruiz flashed his big-play ability, taking the kickoff 80 yards to the house, bringing the game within reach 14-7.
The Coyotes were back in the game, but the Bears soon pushed the score out of reach.
Merced scored 27 unanswered points to push the lead 41-7.
The Bears took advantage of a banged up Coyotes offense, however the Coyotes never gave in.
Davis found the end dzone in the final minutes of the fourth quarter with a short strike to Seth Pierson to close the gap 41-13.
The Coyotes couldn’t muster any more offense, taking a tough loss 41-13.
Madera battles in another Thursday night game this week by heading to Hanford to face the Bullpups.