Denair Overcomes Long Trip, Flu Bug to Stay Unbeaten

Submitted by Denair High School:

Denair’s bus rolled into the Woodland Christian parking lot just after 6:30 Friday night. Kickoff was scheduled for 7 p.m. Thick traffic driving north meant the Coyotes were in a crawl much of the way, adding a half-hour onto what should have been a 2½-hour trip.

Kickoff was delayed 15 minutes or so while Denair warmed up in a small stadium carved like a bowl into the earth. The topography made a hot night feel even more humid. And the proximity of the nearby freeway coupled with the exhaust of portable generators for the lights created semi-smoggy breathing conditions on the field. The poor air didn’t help a handful of Coyotes already battling a late-summer flu bug.

No matter.

A late start and queasy stomachs still weren’t enough to slow Denair, which got three more touchdowns from Dylan De Silva to coast to an easy 34-7 victory over the Cardinals.

Coach Anthony Armas was pleased with the outcome, but not completely satisfied with how it was achieved. He was proud of his players for mentally getting into game mode after the long bus ride as well as stepping up when some of their teammates became sick. But he felt Denair could have scored more points.

Twice the Coyotes (2-0) were stopped on fourth down inside Woodland Christian’s 10-yard line. Another time, they lost a fumble deep in Cardinals territory.

“We left a couple of touchdowns on the field,” Armas said. “We had two fumbles. We definitely can’t put the ball on the ground, so that’s something we’ll be working on in practice this week.”

Despite the turnovers, Denair’s offense still hummed along. Much of that is thanks to De Silva, a senior fullback who has scored six touchdowns in the first two games.

Most of De Silva’s yards come on power plays up the middle behind an offensive line missing its two starting tackles – Derek Starkey (concussion) and Zach Cherry (arm). Into their places stepped Ulysses Corrales and Derek Coleman. They joined guards Carlo Morales and Jose Lopez, center Christian Obando and tight end Will Knox in consistently opening holes for De Silva and his backfield mates to run through.

“We were dinged up, but as a whole, I thought they played well,” Armas said of his offensive line.

Denair led 21-7 at halftime and then scored TDs in the third and fourth quarters to put the game away. The defense forced an interception by Elvis Silva and did a nice job of keeping Woodland Christian (0-2) out of the end zone.

“We played our style on defense – bend but don’t break,” said Armas.

JV Game: No game held This Week: Denair has a bye, which probably couldn’t have come at a better time for the Coyotes. Armas canceled Monday’s practice because a number of players still were dealing with the flu bug. He plans to have light practices Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday before giving the team Friday off. … Denair’s next game will be in much cooler conditions. The Coyotes will travel to Santa Cruz to play Soquel on Sept. 13.

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