Torres holds off Madera’s comeback
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Matilda Toros running back Joseph Bass bursts through the Madera line to score the second of his two touchdowns.
Matilda Torres High School is only in its second year of existence, but its football program is already making strides.
The young program continued to make an impression in the season opener against the Madera Coyotes, holding off the Coyotes’ comeback effort to win 28-25.
“They showed a lot of perseverance tonight,” Matilda Torres head coach Joseph Marquez said. “The Coyotes put up a great fight. They came back in the second half. We knew they wouldn’t want to give up anything in their home stadium. They’re a storied program. They played great football. They came out punching in the second half and we were able to crawl our way back and finish it off.”
The Coyotes, who lost despite showing more energy in the second half, were plagued by penalties early in the game. Committing consecutive penalties on several occasions in the first half, the Coyotes struggled to sustain a drive.
“We were just undisciplined, a lot of penalties,” Madera Coyotes football coach Kenny Paolinelli said.
The Coyotes nearly found a turning point in the first quarter when quarterback Ty Davis threw deep to receiver J’Sean Gonzalez. The pass, however, was just out of the reach of Gonzalez.
Davis was then able to run for a first down on the next play. But the drive once again stalled after Madera committed a personal foul penalty, putting themselves in a 3rd-and-28 situation.
“A lot of dropped balls, a lot of things that are in our control, we didn’t take care of business on our end,” Paolinelli said.
With the game scoreless late in the first quarter, Matilda Torres took over inside its own 10-yard line. The Toros seemed to be facing a disaster when Madera’s Paul Childers appeared to score a touchdown after recovering a fumble. However, the referees determined that the quarterback was down before the ball came out. Still, Torres was forced to punt without advancing the ball any further.
After taking over with a short field, the Coyotes ended the possession with a turnover. It was Toros’ junior Josiah Salinas who picked off Madera’s pass and returned it to midfield early in the second quarter.
Lawrence Watson nearly scored the first points for Matilda Torres after the interception, but the pass was broken up at the last second in the end zone. The Toros finally found the end zone with 3:49 left in the second quarter. That’s when Joseph Bass ripped a 60-yard run for a touchdown.
The Toros put together another drive late in the second quarter to the five-yard-line with 15 seconds left before halftime.
Salinas capped off the drive with a touchdown catch and the Toros went to the break with a 14-0 lead.
The Coyotes comeback effort started with a touchdown catch from Julius Torres early in the third quarter. The momentum continued when Madera’s Michael Pedro came up with an interception with 6:52 left in the third.
The Coyotes found another break when Childers recovered the ball in the end zone after a bad punt snap to add another touchdown. Madera took an 18-14 lead after capping off a long drive with a short touchdown run in the fourth by Daniel Mendez.
Matilda Torres responded with a 50-yard kick return by Daniel Pereida, which led to a short touchdown run by Bass to take a 21-18 lead with four minutes left.
The Torros tacked on another touchdown with a Razi Molina five-yard touchdown for a 28-18 lead.
Madera’s Gonzalez came up with an electrifying 80-yard kickoff return in the final minute for the final 28-25 score.