Knights blank Coyotes in CMAC clash
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
The Madera Coyotes’ defense gang tackles a Bullard ball carrier during Friday afternoon’s battle with the Knights.
Despite stopping the Bullard-Fresno Knights on defense five separate times throughout the game, the Madera Coyotes were unable to get going on offense, losing 28-0 in a County/Metro Athletic Conference clash.
Madera Coyotes two-sport star David Zavala sustained a hit on the final drive of the first half, leaving him unable to continue in the second half of Friday’s game.
Despite losing Zavala, the Coyotes’ next-man-up mentality saw Adam Landero, Raul Medrano and Jason Escobar each get a shot at quarterback with running back Jeremiah Sanchez.
“He got banged up pretty good and he’s been banged up. He’s playing multiple sports and he’s a tough kid and the way I saw him wincing, I knew something was up because he’s always battling,” Madera Coyotes head coach Kenny Paolinelli said of Zavala. “I can’t speculate on what the injury was, but I know he was hurt.”
The Coyotes were unable to get things going both in the air and on the ground after Zavala left. Sanchez was kept under 60 yards and the passing game was few and far between as the Coyotes shuffled through four different quarterbacks.
Medrano, who is usually catching the footballs, was most effective passing. He threw for 53 yards. including a 37-yard pass to Ramon Ruiz Jr.
Madera opened the game with the football, but after five plays, the Knights forced Madera to punt.
Both the Coyotes and Knights opened the game slowly, ending the first quarter even at zero, but the second quarter showed a more aggressive Bullard offense, but the Coyotes were ready.
Bullard drove down the field and into the Coyote endzone as the first quarter expired. Madera was able to stop the run and force the Knights into passing downs. The Knights found themselves on a fourth down inside the 10-yard line.
Madera stood tall to the task and stopped the Knights just a few yards shy of the end zone.
“They take a lot of pride in trying to get the offense off the field and our they just really stepped up in those situations,” Paolinelli said. “We put them in bad positions offensively and we need to clean things up defensively, but overall, I thought they really battled on those fourth downs throughout the game.”
The Coyotes claimed the momentum but the Coyotes were unable to capitalize as Madera went three and out backed up in the end zone.
The Coyotes showed some spark in the second quarter after Zavala and J’Sean Rodriguez connected on a 25-yard pass, but that was the extent of the Coyote offense in terms of big plays, a staple of the offense.
Behind Tavion Walker’s touchdown run and a 20-yard touchdown pass from Roland Russo to Daizon Allen, Bullard held a 14-0 lead as the half expired.
But Madera was still looking to score and, in the process, Zavala took a shot to the midsection, knocking him out of the game just as the teams entered the break.
Bullard added 14 more points in the second half for the win.
Madera now looks towards a meeting with the San Joaquin Memorial-Fresno Panthers on the road for its last game of the season.