Denair Crushes Waterford 60-26 to Earn No. 1 Playoff Seeding and First-Round Bye

Submitted by Denair High School

It’s only fitting that on Senior Night, it was senior Steffin Winston who grabbed the spotlight and led Denair’s turbocharged offense to a 60-26 romp over rival Waterford on Friday night.

Winston ran for 259 and five touchdowns, and also picked off a pass on defense, as the Coyotes finished their best regular season in more than a decade and clinched the top seed and an all-important first-round bye in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoffs.

Denair increased its record to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Southern League, good enough for second place alone behind unbeaten Ripon Christian.

More importantly, the Coyotes marked themselves as the team to beat in the six-team Division VII playoffs.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Denair Coach Anthony Armas said of earning the No. 1 seed. “I think our kids expect to win now, which is good. I always worry about complacency, but I haven’t seen it.”

Denair is assured of hosting a second-round playoff game on Nov. 9 at Jack Lytton Stadium against the winner of this week’s game between No. 4 Gustine (5-5) and No. 5 Millennium (5-5).

No matter the opponent, the Coyotes should be confident, having beaten both schools earlier this season (56-18 against Millennium on Aug. 31 and 49-14 against Gustine on Sept. 28).

The other half of the Division VII bracket features No. 2 seed Big Valley Christian (9-1), which also has a bye this week while awaiting the winner of No. 3 Golden Sierra (6-4) and No. 6 Woodland Christian (6-4).

The Division VII championship game will be played Saturday, Nov. 17 at a site still to be determined.

Whichever team aspires to knock off Denair will have to deal with the Coyotes’ fast-paced offense, which scored 400 points in 10 games and averaged more than 44 points in their nine victories.

Denair uses motion and misdirection to confuse opponents, relying on the deft ball-handling of quarterback Elvis Silva, powerful fullbacks Dylan De Silva and Drew Pritchard, and elusive running backs in Hunter Musgrave and Winston. It’s a lethal combination.

Friday night, Waterford (6-4, 3-4) had no answer for Winston, who shredded the Wildcats’ defense over and over, mostly on runs to the outside.

“Steffin’s just got a good combination of size and speed,” Armas said. “He can do outside stuff where it’s speed and make people miss. But he can also run between the tackles. … He’s always been fast and athletic, but he’s got bigger and stronger from his time in the weight room.”

Winston finished the regular season with 1,124 yards rushing, but he’s far from a one-man attack. Musgrave (967 yards), De Silva (746) and Pritchard (537) all have had big games this fall.

Against Waterford, the Coyotes piled up 504 yards on the ground and scored their season high for points.

The game was closer – at least in the first half, which ended with Denair ahead 21-14 – than the final score might indicate.

Armas said the biggest play came in the third quarter, right after Waterford had connected on a long touchdown pass. That’s when Musgrave re-energized the home crowd with an 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

“It was a huge part of the game,” Armas said. “It really got the momentum back to our side.”

Looking ahead, Armas said it will be a normal week of practice for the Coyotes, with Friday off.

“We won’t have as much contact this week. We’ve got some kids dinged, so we’ll get them healthy,” he said. “We’ll go over stuff about both teams (Gustine and Millennium) to keep them fresh, but we’ll tell the kids from here on out, there’s not a defense or offense that we haven’t seen. We’ll just keep working on stuff that we can get better at — assignments, footwork, alignments.”

Armas said he won’t attend the Gustine and Millennium game, preferring to do his scouting by watching film. He’ll encourage his players to go to another playoff game this week just to get a sense of what other teams are doing.

By the time they all return next Monday, they’ll know exactly who they’re playing at what’s at stake.

Armas said this fall’s success is no surprise to him or his coaching staff.

“I think we all thought we were going to have a good team,” he said, “but I can’t say enough about what a great group of human beings these kids are. As a coach, it’s a joy to coach them. They have a great attitude.”

JV Game: Waterford 31, Denair 6. The Coyotes finished 1-7-1 overall and 1-6 in league play.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

New Coyote Reading Circle Program Introduces Students to the Wonders of Books

Submitted by Denair Elementary Charter Academy

Pattie Hegg has a special relationship with books. Which makes sense. She’s a librarian, after all. She loves the way books feel, their smell and their ability to spirit her away on another adventure.

Her enthusiasm is contagious, which is why Hegg is the perfect person to help introduce children to the wonders of reading at Denair Elementary Charter Academy.

“You can do anything in the whole world if you can read,” said Hegg, who has worked at DECA the past six years and, before that, at a used bookstore in Modesto.

This year, for the first time, Hegg created a voluntary program she calls Coyote Reading Circle. Three times a month – every other Thursday with second- and third-graders, and once with fifth- and sixth-graders – Hegg invites students into her world for an hour after school.

Recently, 29 second- and third-graders lined up outside the library door – first to enjoy an afternoon snack, then to answer questions about “Bunnicula,” a story by Deborah and James Howe about a bunny with “unusual habits.” Students were expected to have finished the book at home so they can participate in the discussion.

Hegg asked the youngsters how they know Bunnicula is a vampire. Eager students sitting at the low desks excitedly raised their arms.

“He turned the red fruit white when he sucked all the juice out of it,” says one young boy.

Next, Hegg introduced the group to “Freckle Juice,” a book by Judy Blume about a young boy named Nicky who wants to have freckles. She asked for volunteers to help her read passages aloud, then patiently encouraged the boys and girls whom she selected.

“So many of them don’t feel confident reading out loud,” explained Hegg, sporting a T-shirt that said I Still Read Children’s Books. “I had a speech impediment when I was in fifth grade. I got teased a lot, so I want kids to be comfortable.”

She didn’t have to work hard to convince DECA Principal Kelly Beard that the Coyote Reading Circle was a good idea.

“We want to foster a love of reading and books within our students,” said Beard, praising the Denair Parent Service Club ($1,200), Denair Education Foundation ($500) and Denair Lions Club ($250) for their donations that helped pay for each child’s books this school year.

“Students will get to keep the books they are reading and be able to add to or begin building their own library at home,” said Beard. “We encourage families to spend time together reading the book.”

Hegg picks books that are appropriate to the grade level and the students’ abilities. There are no grades. It’s all about cultivating a fun habit she hopes serves them their entire lives.

“I love books. Books are my best friends,” said Hegg. “You can find anything in a book. … I just want these children to love to read.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Denair Eyes High Playoff Seed After Win Over Mariposa

Submitted by Denair High School

MARIPOSA – Neighborhood bragging rights, solo second place in the Southern League and, most importantly, a probable first-round playoff bye will be on the line this week as Denair’s football team tries to extend its most successful season in more than a decade.

The Coyotes (8-1 overall, 5-1 SL) control their fate. Friday’s 28-7 road victory over Mariposa kept them alone in second place in their conference with one regular-season game to play. A victory this week at home against Waterford guarantee no worse than second place in league.

Unbeaten Ripon Christian (9-0, 6-0) – which handed Denair its only loss – is cruising to the SL title. The Knights host winless Delhi (0-9, 0-6) this week, so nothing short of a miracle would get Denair a co-championship.

But a victory over the Waterford (6-3, 3-3) would position Denair for a well-earned week off when the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoffs begin Nov. 2. Because there are only six teams in the Section’s smallest division, the top two seeds get first-round byes.

“I’d rather take the week off and get rested and get some kids healthy than play another game,” said Denair Coach Anthony Armas. “We’ve got a lot of kids going both ways (on offense and defense).”

Denair and Big Valley Christian (8-1) of Modesto are the likely top seeds, if they both win.

“I know zero about how they figure out the playoff seedings,” Armas said. “I think it’s strength of schedule and record, but I don’t know what they’re thinking about in Sacramento.”

The playoff brackets for all divisions will be announced online Sunday.

Armas felt his team was guilty of thinking too much about the various playoff scenarios last week, which may have contributed to a relatively slow start against Mariposa.

“I think we got caught up too much in the playoff buzz,” he said. “Some of the kids were asking about it and wondering who we might play. … I tell them the same thing every week: We just need to take care of our business and the rest of that stuff will sort itself out.”

For one of the few times this season, Denair found itself behind against the Grizzlies (2-7, 1-5).

Mariposa took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter before Denair rallied behind running back Drew Pritchard and a passing attack led by quarterback Elvis Silva that hasn’t been needed often this season.

“They were pretty hell-bent on stopping the run,” Armas said. “They were really stacking the  box on defense.”

Pritchard’s 1-yard plunge tied the score late in the first quarter. He gave Denair a 14-7 halftime lead on a pretty 17-yard touchdown pass from Silva.

Pritchard wasn’t done. He added a 10-yard TD run in the second half to stretch Denair’s advantage to 21-7. He finished with 75 yards on 13 carries, caught two passes for 42 yards and also played a key role on defense, intercepting a Mariposa pass in the first half.

Steffin Winston (15 carries, 75 yards) capped Denair’s scoring with a 15-yard TD pass from Silva in the fourth quarter. Silva, a junior, had his best game of the season, completing nine of 11 throws for 143 yards and two TDs.

“It was close into the third quarter, but it never felt like we were in danger,” Armas said. “We fumbled twice inside the red zone. One of them was inside the 5-yard line after a long drive.”

JV Game: Mariposa 45, Denair 0. The Coyotes are 1-6-1 overall and 1-5 in league play.

This week: Waterford has lost two games in a row (to Orestimba and Gustine) but still has playoff aspirations. The Wildcats also have beaten Denair the past two seasons – something Armas won’t have to remind his seniors of this week. “Their quarterback really makes their offense go,” he said. “They’re aggressive on defense. We’ve got to do what we do and do it well. We’ve got to be disciplined on both sides of the ball. We’ve got to focus on us.” … Friday’s game kicks off at 7:15 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium. … A scheduling oddity had Denair playing four homecoming games in a row – its own, plus away games at Gustine, Orestimba and Waterford. The Coyotes went 4-0 in that stretch and are a perfect 5-0 this season on the road. … Denair won eight games for the first time since 2006, when the Coyotes made it all the way to the Section Division VI championship game. They lost to Lindhurst and finished 8-4 overall. … Denair remains No. 2 in the Modesto Bee’s small-school rankings behind Ripon Christian. … In ’N Out Burger in Merced was a popular place for Southern League football teams last Friday night. The Coyotes stopped there on their 90-minute trip back from Mariposa. So did Ripon Christian after it played at Le Grand. And some of the Le Grand players also showed up. “It was packed,” Armas said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Cumbre Anual de Padres, Camino a la Universidad

Submitted by Denair Unified School District


El sábado 17 de noviembre de 2018, la tercera Cumbre anual de padres de Camino a lá Universidad se llevará a cabo en UC Merced de 8 AM a 12:30 PM. La Cumbre de Padres de Camino a la Universidad es un evento informativo con talleres presentados en inglés y español.

El evento gratuito está abierto a los padres de K-16. Se servirá el desayuno y regalaremos una computadora portátil, una tableta y otros premios electrónicas.

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Denair (DUSD) proporcionará transporte GRATUITO para todas las familias de DUSD interesadas en asistir a este evento GRATUITO. Para obtener más información, comuníquese con Daisy Swearingen al 209-632-7514 x1202.

Annual Pathway to College Parent Summit 2018

Submitted by Denair Unified School District


On Saturday, November 17, 2018 the 3rd annual Pathway to College Parent Summit will be held at UC Merced from 8AM-12:30PM. The Pathway to College Parent Summit is an informational event with workshops presented in both English and Spanish.

The free event is open to K-16 parents. Breakfast will be served and we will give away a laptop, tablet and other electronic goodies.

Denair Unified School District (DUSD) will be providing FREE transportation for all DUSD families interested in attending this FREE event! For more information please contact Daisy Swearingen at 209-632-7514 x1202.