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Coyotes hold on for Showdown win

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

After coming back from a 30-7 deficit, the Madera Coyotes football team celebrates with the Stadium Road Showdown Saw trophy after a 34-30 victory over Madera South on Friday. It is the 12th victory for Madera in 15 games.


It was the tale of two halves in the 15th annual Stadium Road Showdown and it ended with the Madera Coyotes holding off the Madera South Stallions at the one-yard line to secure the victory.

The Coyotes came back from a 30-7 deficit midway through the third quarter to score 27 unanswered points for a 34-30 victory Friday in Memorial Stadium.

“We talked to the kids about doing what they are coached to do,” Madera head coach Kenny Paolinelli said. “We told them no one was going to walk through the doors and make plays for them. We needed our guys to step up and make plays. We were playing really timid in the first half.”

The Stallions outgained the Coyotes by 100 yards in the first half. They forced three turnovers and led 24-7 at the half and added a third quarter touchdown for a 23-point lead.

However, the Coyotes outgained Madera South 300-103 in the second half and pulled away for the victory.

“We made some adjustments as a staff at halftime. Those really paid off for us,” Paolinelli said.

Madera’s J’Sean Gonzalez took over the game in the second half. He caught a pass for a touchdown, ran for one of the craziest touchdowns in recent memories, scored a two-point conversion and recovered an onside kick. In all, Gonzalez had 157 yards from scrimmage and scored 14 of the team’s 34 points.

“J’Sean really stepped into a different level of play,” Paolinelli said. “It really reminded me of an Alec Gamboa-type of performance. He took the game over. As a playcaller, when you see that, I was trying to find different ways to get him the ball. He told my wide receiver coach to get the ball in his hands and I’ll make some plays. He wanted the ball and wanted to be the guy.”

Ty Davis scored on a touchdown run and threw touchdown passes to Seth Pierson and Izaak Lopez. Davis rushed for 92 yards and Daniel Mendez had a workmanlike performance with 66 yards rushing.

On the other hand, the Stallions controlled the line of scrimmage, for the most part. They rushed for 358 yards, but passed for just seven yards.

The Stallions had three different ball carriers gain 90 or more yards, led by Angelo Moreno’s 95 yards with two touchdowns. Erik Cervantes gained 94 yards and Ahmed Sharhan gained 92 yards and scored a touchdown.

The Coyotes drove into Madera South territory to open the game after a 17-yard run by Davis. However, Sharhan picked off Davis on a tipped pass by Moreno. Sharhan returned it near midfield and the Stallions got on the scoreboard.

Sharhan started the drive with a 17-yard scramble run. Cervantes followed with an 18-yard run to the 18-yard line.

Madera’s Paul Childers broke up a pass to Jacob Edwards on fourth down. Julian Castellanos stepped up and nailed a 33-yard field goal for a 3-0 Stallions’ lead with 5:48 left in the first quarter.

Three plays into Madera’s next drive, Davis was tackled by Juan Garcia after a 19-yard gain and fumbled. Madera South’s Adrian Garcia recovered it at the Madera South 32-yard line.

Two plays later, Sharhan scrambled and found some running room. He ran away from Madera defenders for a 61-yard touchdown run and a 10-0 lead with 3:02 left in the first quarter.

Gonzalez returned the ensuing kickoff for an 85-yard touchdown, but a block in the back penalty brought the ball back.

William Thompson and Victor Vaquez stuffed Mendez for a loss of six on the first play and helped force a punt.

Moreno started off the drive with a 17-yard gain. Sharhan carred for 13-yards to the Madera 21-yard line. Cervantes gained 12 to the nine for a first-and-goal.

Moreno gained eight up the middle to the one-yard line. However, Jacob Edwards was tackled for loss by Aiden Owens on third down. Sharhan’s fourth down pass was dropped in the end zone.

The Coyotes couldn’t go anywhere and was stuffed by a two-yard tackle for loss by Seth Ochoa.

Gonzalez went back to punt and made a safety-saving catch on a snap, but got off a six-yard punt. The ball landed and Gonzalez kicked the ball to down it, which resulted in a penalty and the Stallions started on the four-yard line.

Two plays later, Moreno went up the middle for a touchdown and a 17-0 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

The Coyotes got a 37-yard pass from Davis to Julius Torres, but penalties moved the ball back to the 29. Davis then looked to pass, but found some open running room and took it. By the time he stopped, he was in the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown run and a 17-7 Madera South lead after a Diego Gutierrez extra point with 4:18 left in the half.

Moreno opened the next drive for the Stallions with a 13-yard run. He followed with a 17-yard run to the Madera 35-yard line. Cervantes went around the right side for a 32-yard gain to the three-yard line.

Moreno scored up themiddle on the next play for a 24-7 lead with 2:26 left in the first half.

Davis was picked off on Madera’s next possession, but the Coyotes forced a punt as the first half ended.

Both teams didn’t do much with their first possession of the second half.

After the Coyotes gave up the ball on downs, the Stallions got a pass interference penalty. On the next play, Angel Moreno knifed his way through the Madera defense and ran for a 41-yard touchdown run. Castellanos’ extra point gave the Stallions a 30-7 lead with 6:29 left in the third quarter.

Madera began a string of touchdowns on its next four possessions. On the second play of the next drive, Gonzalez took the hand-off running to his right. After he crossed the line of scrimmage, he cut to his left and went to the left sideline. When he got there, he quickly reversed his field and escaped two Stallion tacklers. Going to his right, Gonzalez ran to the right corner of the end zone for an exciting 68-yard touchdown. Gutierrez’s extra point cut the Stallions’ lead to 30-14.

On the next Stallions’ offensive play, Paul Childers stripped Sharhan of the ball and Isaiah Beas came up with the recovery.

Mendez carred the ball four straight times and moved it from the 32 to the eight-yard line.

Davis hit Gonzalez in the flat with a pass. He got a key block by Pierson and ran over Sharhan on his way to the end zone for the touchdown. Gonzalez ran in the two-point conversion and Madera trailed 30-22 with 3:23 left in the third quarter.

The Stallions moved the ball for a first down in the next drive, but a holding penalty moves the ball back. Sharhan threw back-to-back incomplete passes, but Octavio Rodriguez pinned the Coyotes at the one-yard line where Angelo Moreno downed the ball.

Madera began the fourth quarter with 99 yards to go to try to tie the game.

“As soon as we were pinned back, I turned to Ty and said, let’s go 99 yards. These are things people will remember,” Paolinelli said.

Davis got the Coyotes out of their own end zone with a seven-yard run. Mendez gained 21 to the 28-yard line. Mendez caught a pass for a 10-yard gain. Mendez gained another 21 yards, but a holding penalty brought it back.

Davis hit Gonzalez on a receiver screen pass. Gonzalez shook off an initial tackle and went down the left sideline for a 36-yard gain to the 17-yard line.

Owens carried to the six-yard line on second down. Davis hit Izaak Lopez in the flat with a pass and he ran it in for the touchdown.

The point after pass fell incomplete and Madera South still led 30-28 with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter.

“We felt really good about the adjustments we made at halftime. We knew whatever we called was going to work,” Paolinelli said.

The Coyotes, who try to kick onsides on almost every kick-off, finally got an onsides kick. The ball went off a Madera South player and Gonzalez jumped on it for the recovery.

It took just one play for the Coyotes to take advantage.

Davis sent a ball deep and Pierson beat a Madera South defender for the ball at the 10 and ran it in the rest of the way for the go-ahead touchdown for a 34-30 lead with 7:43 left in the fourth quarter after the two-point conversion was stopped short.

Despite the obvious momentum shift, the Stallions were undeterred and drove methodically down the field.

Cervantes carried for nine and Moreno carried for nine to the 34-yard line. Moreno carried or 10 to the 34. Madera forced a third down, but Moreno gained three on fourth-and-one at the 15-yard line. Cervantes carried for seven yards to the five.

Then, things got dicey. Moreno gained two to the three-yard line. On third-and-one from the three, Moreno was stuffed for no gain. On fourth down with about 30 seconds left, Cervantes was held out of the end zone to the one-yard line, but gained enough for the first down with about 18 seconds left in the game and the Stallions didn’t have a time out.

The Stallions hurridly got to the line and Moreno tried to go up the middle. He was stuffed for no gain as the final buzzer sounded with the Coyotes coming back from a 23-point second half deficit to win their 12th Stadium Road Showdown.



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