Linemen Pave the Way for Running Backs to Shine as Unbeaten Denair Pounds Millennium 56-18

Submitted by Denair High School

Running backs get all the glory. Offensive linemen get all the bruises.

That’s a bit of an oversimplification, but there are kernels of truth as well … as only a former offensive lineman like Anthony Armas can appreciate.

Asked to assess his team’s dominant 56-18 victory over Millennium on Friday at Jack Lytton Stadium, the Denair football coach first mentioned running backs Dylan De Silva and Steffin Winston, who combined for 344 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

But Armas quickly pivoted to the play of the Coyotes’ often anonymous linemen, who consistently blew open holes in the Falcons’ defense, allowing Denair to average of a gaudy 13.2 yards per carry (41 rushes, 542 yards).

“That’s a high number,” Armas deadpanned before singling out guards Carlo Morales, a junior, and Hayden Haile, a senior, for particularly strong games.

“They’re our most active linemen,” Armas said. “They do a lot of pulling.”

Morales, Haile, and their teammates had their way with Millennium (0-2), allowing Denair (2-0) to race out to a 35-6 lead at halftime.

“I thought we played really well offensively,” said Armas, whose squad was coming off a bye week after opening with a 32-0 whitewash of Woodland Christian two weeks ago. “The things we needed to fix on offense, we fixed.”

De Silva piled up 175 yards on just 11 carries, scoring twice. Winston was even more efficient, needing just eight carries to gain 169 yards. Included were two TDS – one a 94-yard sprint – plus a 24-yard scoring reception.

Armas was less enthused by his defense, which allowed two touchdowns in the third quarter and three for the game.

“Generally, with how we run our defense, our linebackers and linemen need to get a read (on the opponents’ players,” he said. “We’re still not reacting the way we need to.”

Denair will have this week to correct those problems before hitting the road for the first time Friday night. The Coyotes take on Stone Ridge Christian (2-1) of Merced, though the game will be played at the old Castle Air Force Base site in Atwater.

“They’re good-sized,” Armas said of the Knights. “They can be very physical.”

JV Game: Denair and Millennium tied, 14-14.

Denair Unified Community Input Sessions

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

You’re invited to two community input sessions being held in the Denair Unified School District, Board Room Leadership Center located at 3460 Lester Road from 6-7pm on September 4th and September 6th, 2018.

Please visit for an invitation from Denair Superintendent, Dr. Terry Metzger.

We look forward to seeing you at either or both community sessions!

After a Week Off, Denair Football Team Back in Action

Submitted by Denair High School

For the second year in a row, Denair played a football game … and then immediately had a bye week.

Especially this season – coming off a dominant 32-0 shutout of Woodland Christian – it might have been nice to build on that momentum.

Coach Anthony Armas said he saw evidence of a slight emotional letdown last week in practice, saying it “was hard to get the kids dialed in” without a game to look forward to last Friday.

Such is not the case this week. The Coyotes will host Millennium of Tracy on Friday at Jack Lytton Field. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m.

Armas said the extra time off has allowed him and his coaching staff to focus on the basics on offense and defense, but it hasn’t necessarily been a good thing for all his players, at least physically.

“We’re dealing with a lot of bumps and bruises,” said Armas, who doesn’t have the luxury of depth with a 25-man roster. Most of his best players line up on both sides of the ball.

Millennium (0-2) just may be the perfect opponent in such a situation. The Falcons have lost by identical 49-6 scores to Ripon Christian and Rio Vista the past two weeks.

“They’ve had a tough time,” said Armas, who nonetheless remembers a year ago when Denair had all it could handle before beating Millennium 27-24 in Tracy.

Armas is optimistic that his offense will click like it did against Woodland Christian when Steffin Winston scored three touchdowns and piled up 121 yards on the ground and Drew Pritchard raced 91 yards for another touchdown.

“I got to work with a lot of our backfield kids in the offseason, so they might be a little ahead of the defense, if only because we have a lot of walk-on coaches there,” Armas said. “Then again, it’s mostly the same kids playing both ways, so it may not matter that much at all.”

Denair Blanks Woodland Christian 32-0 in First Game

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair’s dominating 32-0 season-opening victory over Woodland Christian didn’t help Coyotes football Coach Anthony Armas sleep any better over the weekend. Despite the lopsided score, he saw too many things that still need to be fixed.

“We’ve got a lot of things to work on,” Armas assessed.

His to-do list for practice this week is long – better angles on blocking and tackling, better play by his backs, more accuracy in the passing game and even better conditioning after many players cramped up in Friday’s heat.

All that said, there were many things that pleased Armas.

Senior Steffin Winston scored three touchdowns – twice on runs and once on a reception – on his way to 121 yards on the ground. Senior Drew Pritchard sprinted 91 yards for another touchdown. Junior middle linebacker Christian Obando spearheaded an aggressive defensive effort that included stopping Woodland on the goal line as well as scoring on a safety.

“I thought our defense played very well,” Armas said. “We really rallied to the ball.”

The Coyotes set the tone early. Denair stopped Woodland on its opening drive, then quickly scored on Winston’s first TD, a 41-yarder.

Denair tacked on another touchdown and a field goal to lead 16-0 at the end of the first quarter, but hit a lull.

“We started well, but then in the middle of the game, we didn’t do much,” Armas said. “Honestly, we should have scored three more touchdowns… We left points on the field.”

The Coyotes will have plenty of time to work on their problem areas. They have a bye this week and don’t play again until hosting Millennium of Tracy on Aug. 31 at Jack Lytton Stadium.

“We’re still trying to figure this group out,” said Armas. “Some of the things we’ve been harping on we’ve still got to fix.”

Junior varsity game: Pitman’s freshman team defeated Denair 7-0.

Alumni Adds Splash of Color to Middle School Office

Submitted by Denair Middle School

A former student with a talent for art is brightening up one of the walls at the Denair Middle School office.

Libby Martinez, a 2017 graduate of Denair High, spent part of Thursday and Friday painting a howling young coyote with the words “Denair is home.” The mural graces what is familiarly known as the “detention wall” outside the principal’s office (it’s the place where students wait).

The project is the brainchild of first-year Principal Amanda Silva, whose oldest son, Hector Obando, graduated with Martinez.

“I reached out … and asked if Libby would consider painting a mural on an empty wall, depicting school spirit. Libby jumped right on it and less than 24 hours later, she is sketching and painting,” Silva said Thursday.

“I got a text from her Wednesday asking if I’d do this,” Martinez recalled. “It never went through my head to say no. It was, ‘How am I going to do this before I go back to San Francisco?’ ”

Martinez is an art major at San Francisco State University. She moves back into the dorms next Thursday; school begins Aug. 27.

She expects to finish the mural no later than Monday. Thursday, she set up a projector in an office across from the wall, allowing her to trace the coyote and words on the wall. She then applied the first coat of semi-gloss house paint. She’s using two shades of purple and brown as well as black, white and gray.

Friday morning, she put on a second coat of purple on the letters.

“Hopefully, I’ll be done Saturday,” Martinez said. “If I have to do touchups, that will be Monday.”

Painting is nothing new to Martinez, though she admits to never doing a mural before. The closest she’s come is two 6-foot by 5-foot charcoal self-portraits she did last spring as a class project.

Martinez credits high school art teacher John Stavrianoudakis – Mr. Stav to everyone – for recognizing her passion for art and inspiring her to pursue it as a career. She hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree and teach art at a university.

“I love Mr. Stav with my whole heart,” she said. “He taught me everything I know. … He taught me to break things down into simple shapes — circles, rectangles, triangles. It helps you from getting super overwhelmed.”

Stav, predictably, gives all the credit to his former student.

“Libby is a ‘force!’ ” he said. “I’m flattered to hear I had a positive influence on Libby to guide her in her artistic path and journey, but the truth is, Libby would be successful in art in spite of me.”

Stavrianoudakis said Martinez excelled at every assignment he threw at her.

“It was a great pleasure to see her grow in high school, and it is an even greater joy to see her continue this post DHS,” he said. “At the end of last year, she dropped by to visit and gave me a print of a skeleton in a headdress she worked on in college.  I have it hanging in my room, and treasure it!  It is what teaching is all about!”

Silva said the entire Martinez family – parents Pam and Ron and their four children – “exemplify the purpose of our work in Denair: Building positive, lifelong relationships where students feel compelled and eager to give back to the community and school system.

“Libby’s theme in sketching the mural is, ‘Denair is Home.’ For all of us that live, breathe, and bleed purple: Denair IS home!”