Coyotes go overtime for win
Madera Tribune File Photo
The Liberty Hawks football team celebrates its third straight Central Section championship, their first in Div. IV, after a 2014 victory over Central Valley Christian.
After the Madera High boy’s soccer team got its first loss of the season against Central-Fresno Coyotes’ coach Chris Baca encouraged his team to get back to its winning ways.
The Coyotes did just that with a game-winning goal in double overtime to beat Clovis North, 2-1.
“I didn’t want to have two losses in a row,” Baca said. “I said, ‘Boys, let’s not get on a losing streak. We had seven games without a loss.’“
Senior midfielder Chris Gomez made sure the Coyote’s losing stopped at one game when he buried a goal past the Bronco’s keeper in front of the net on a feed from Salvador Garcia.
The Broncos got on the board first with about 15 minutes left in the first half, but the Coyotes were quick with an answer to even the score. About three minutes after Clovis North took the lead Madera’s Sergio Perez scored on a short header off of an assist from Jonathan Sanchez.
Liberty win creates dynasty talk
When the final gun sounded, the Liberty Hawks football team was celebrating its 24-6 victory over Central Valley Christian-Visalia for its third straight Valley Championship and first in Div. IV.
The top-seeded Hawks used a suffocating defense and got opportune big plays from the offense for the victory that head coach Mike Nolte said might be the biggest win in school history.
“This football team is one of those teams that come along not very often with the mix of kids we had with talent, size and speed,” Nolte said. “This is a special team. We’re 580 (students in the school) and playing teams in Div. IV is a tough task when you’re the smallest school in the division. To come out on top makes it very special.”
For the third straight season, Nolte came away from the Valley Championship game soaked, but in a good way.
“It’s nice to get wet after a game,” he said. “I told them I thought I was going to get wet after winning league in Chowchilla, but they wanted to wait until this one.”
The story of the game, though, was the Hawks’ defense. The Cavaliers came into the game averaging 329 yards per game and 261 yards on the ground. They averaged almost 44 points per game while giving up just 13.
Unfortunately, CVC ran into the Liberty defense, which lived up to its billing. Liberty averaged just 10.6 points per game allowed and held CVC to 37 points below its average. The Cavaliers were held to just 51 yards on the ground, 263 yards below its average. Liberty gave up an average of 84 yards per game on the ground heading into the game.
The Cavaliers were forced to throw the ball and quarterback Jack Vander dussen threw 20 incomplete passes and 171 yards with two interceptions.
The Hawks were still able to get the big plays. Quarterback Zach Richey hit Joseph Castaneda for a 24-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Richie Brandt scored on a three-yard run after a 41-yard Jackson Watts carry. Chad Wallace clinched the victory with a 48-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Coyotes fall in D-III championship match
Five Madera turnovers provided simply too many opportunities for Hanford’s top-seeded Bullpups as they sent the No. 3 Coyotes home with a 35-14 Division III Section title loss.
Madera entered Hanford’s Neighbor Bowl with the thoughts of a rematch and championship glory on their minds, because the previous year, they sent Hanford packing with a 73-35 passing attack that racked up section records.
In that game, Alec Gamboa entered section history with 13 receptions for 360 yards and six touchdowns, while quarterback Nathaniel Nelson threw for 555 yards and seven scores.
However, Hanford matched up stronger both on the ground and through the air, as Coyote bulldozer back Jesus Jimenez fumbled twice and quarterback Nathaniel Nelson threw three picks, including one that sealed the game in the back of Hanford’s end zone with less than seven minutes left on the clock.
Despite the mistakes for the second-place plaque, several seniors said they were happy with the season and proud of their teammates and coaches, which brought Madera High to the championship game for the first time since 1986.
Coyotes take first in Classic
When it comes to building a solid foundation for this season, each game for the Madera boys basketball team is an opportunity to grow and get better as a team.
For Coyote head coach Michael Hawkins, the four-day Madera South Classic offered a chance for him to see how his players would adjust on the fly against live competition.
“We saw this as a tune-up tournament,” Hawkins said. “We had one scrimmage before this but these were our first official games — it was kind of our first test.”
If it was a test, then the Coyotes racked up a perfect score after finishing 4-0 in the tourney that concluded with a 57-42 win over McLane-Fresno on Saturday at Madera South’s East Gym.
It wasn’t a bad start for a Madera team that graduated eight seniors including City/County All-Star Mackey West from last season’s third-place County/Metro Athletic Conference finisher.
According to Hawkins, one of the key offensive concepts is to get the ball to three-year varsity veteran Ethan Richardson — a 6-foot-8 junior center who can take over a game on the offensive as well as the defensive end of the court.
“I just love the game and I’ve been playing basketball since Lil’ Coyotes,” Richardson said.
Richardson led the Coyotes with a game-high 32 points in a win over the Highlanders as he helped Madera to its best finish in the hometown tourney.
Richardson was an all-tournament selection for the Coyotes along with senior small forward Jovanni Cantu, who scored 11 points in the win.
Stallions finish 4-0 in home tourney
Just looking at the Madera South boys basketball roster, it appears that Stallion head coach Jody Sharp has all the tools for a successful season.
For Sharp, it’s just a matter of getting his players to get comfortable on the court with each other in game-time situations.
“I have a great group of kids and they are really supporting each other,” Sharp said. “It’s still early in the season and we have new faces on the team, so they’re still trying to figure each other out on the court.”
While trying to get a gauge for each other’s play, the Stallions ended its four-day tournament — the Madera South Classic — unblemished with a 4-0 record, which included a 61-45 beating of Corcoran on the last day of the tournament.
Crosstown rival and County/Metro Athletic Conference opponent Madera also finished 4-0 in the Madera South Classic and was given the tie-breaking tournament title because of fewer points allowed.
The Stallions also defeated McLane-Fresno (52-36), Chowchilla (52-47) and Fresno Christian 65-30 in their tournament.
Against Corcoran, the Stallions overcame a 23-22 halftime deficit and rolled in the second half led by the 6-foot-4 senior post player Quinn Shippey, who scored 16 of his team-high 22 points after the break.
Stallions win hometown tourney
For the first time since 2011, the Madera South boys basketball team came away its own tournament championship.
To win the Madera South Classic, the Stallions finished 4-0 in the four-day tourney which included a 57-32 win over crosstown and County/Metro Athletic Conference rival Madera in Saturday’s championship game.
Coming into the season, Madera South team’s had some tough shoes to fill after losing key senior players including City/County All-Star Josh Johnson, high-energy point guard Samuel Peterson and its big man in the middle Quinn Shippey, an All-CMAC selection.
The tournament allowed Stallion head coach Jody Sharp to see how this year’s players would perform under the lights.
Against the Coyotes, the Stallions were led by Hassan Bolden, who scored 12 points while Hakeem Primes added 10 and David Thomas had nine. Primes and Thomas were all-tournament selections.
Missed opportunities down Stallions
The Madera South Stallions girls basketball team gave themselves a chance to win, but three turnovers in the final 30 seconds led to a 50-45 Selma non-conference victory.
The Stallions trailed by one with 49 seconds left in the game. After a missed 3-pointer, Selma missed a shot and Arelis Chavez came down with the rebound. The Stallions turned the ball over and then forced Selma into a free throw. After a miss, Lexi Eller came down with a rebound. However, the Stallions turned the ball over again.
This time, Selma made two free throws for a 48-45 lead with 7.9 seconds left. Another turnover gave the ball back to Selma and two free throws with 1.7 seconds left iced the game.
The Stallions had plenty of chances to open up the game. They pulled down 18 offensive rebounds, but had just one offensive setback. They recorded nine steals and forced 30 turnovers, but scored just 13 points off those turnovers. Meanwhile, Selma forced 26 turnovers and scored 24 points. Madera South also missed more than their share of open layups.
Eller took over for Emily Montoya, who was in foul trouble, at the point and kickstarted the Madera South offense. She had 10 points to go with 11 rebounds. She helped open the court for Aleecia Rosel, who led the team with 12 points and hit a pair of pointers. She also had eight rebounds. Arelis Chavez also scored 10 points with 11 rebounds.
Quick goals lead Hawks to soccer win
The Liberty Hawks girls soccer team made quick work of the Hanford West Huskies with five goals in the first half in a 7-1 victory at Liberty.
“I felt we were going to have a good game tonight,” head coach Erick Walker said. “The girls seemed on during warm ups. The last couple of games, we would score, but keep the team in. We talked about putting the game away early. The early goals helped set the tone in the game.”
The Hawks scored three goals in a seven minute span — two from Alondra Alvarez and another from Holly Strong — to effectively put away the Huskies.
“We’ve played this team the last couple of years,” Walker said. “They put more pressure than we were used to. I don’t think our defense was used to their speed. We made some modifications at halftime and they played better in the second half.”