Denair returns to winning ways against Gustine

Denair football Coach Anthony Armas said he enjoyed this year’s Homecoming festivities more than he can ever remember. He was caught up in the enthusiasm and community spirit of the rally and parade on Friday, and was proud that the students in his math intervention class won one of the dress up day contests earlier in the week.

Friday’s dominant 35-7 victory over Gustine only added to Armas’ enjoyment, allowing his team to shake off the memory of their loss the week before against first-place Ripon Christian.

“It was just a fun week,” Armas said.

Another way to get Armas to smile is to mention fullback Dylan De Silva, who has set the tone on offense all season. The senior was at it again against Gustine, running for three touchdowns to raise his season total to 12 (11 rushing and one receiving).

It is the third time this year De Silva has scored three TDs in a game.

“He’s just a special athlete,” Armas praised. “He’s fast and he’s shifty. He plays fullback, so he makes a lot of cuts in tight spaces. That’s not something you can teach. He’s just a naturally athletic kid.”

Armas credited Denair’s offensive linemen for opening enough holes for De Silva to squirt through. They did it despite having a size disadvantage against Gustine.

“We tried to go fast. We wanted to speed up the tempo to wear them down and so they couldn’t substitute,” Armas said.

As has been the case most of the season, that strategy worked. Denair led 14-0 at halftime, 28-7 after three quarters and coasted to victory.

The Coyotes (4-2 overall, 1-1 Southern League) mostly avoided the turnovers and penalties that have frustrated them this season. They did lose a fumble late in the first half that stopped a scoring chance, but played much better against the Reds (1-5, 1-2).

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction,” Armas said.

While De Silva was the unquestioned leader on the offense, Armas also was pleased with his defense. He singled out junior nose guard Drake Francis for causing havoc to Gustine’s offense.

“He really got after it,” Armas said. “He was very aggressive and they their center a lot of trouble. He was getting pressure up the middle on their quarterback.”

JV score: Gustine 21, Denair 20. The Coyotes are 1-5 overall and 0-3 in the Southern League.

This week: Denair hosts longtime rival Orestimba this week at Jack Lytton Stadium. The Warriors (3-3 1-2) were shut out 35-0 by Ripon Christian last week, but Armas still has plenty of respect for them. “They’re still pretty good. They beat a Hughson team that’s doing well in the Trans-Valley League. They’re definitely used to winning.” … With four regular-season games remaining, Armas said it’s too early to begin thinking about a third straight trip to the playoffs. “It’s one game at a time for us. … We’ve got to continue to think about ball security on offense and cutting down on penalties and mistakes. That’s what we harp on in practice.”

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