Start Your Engines! Tractor Pull Returns to Denair on November 11

Submitted by Denair High School

It’s loud, it’s exciting and it’s coming back to Denair on Saturday night.

It’s the 2nd annual Denair FFA Boosters Tractor Pull, which begins at 5 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium.

Last year’s event drew more than 1,000 people. They were thoroughly entertained by drivers from up and down the Central Valley.

Tractor pulls involve multiple classes of vehicles – from antique tractors to modified, high-horsepower versions to souped up 4×4 pickups. Each tractor or truck is hooked up to a weighted sled. The farther the sled is pulled, the more the weight moves toward the front – making it more difficult to pull.

Competitors are scored on how far they can pull the sled.

The event is sanctioned and organized by the Valley Tractor Pullers Association.

Most important of all – the event is the single-biggest fundraiser in support of the Denair High FFA program and its 150 students. Last year’s event generated more than $20,000 – money that helps underwrite the entry costs for the county fair and other competitions, paid for four students to attend the national FFA convention in Indianapolis last month and will cover the cost of more teens to participate in the state convention in Anaheim next spring.

First-year ag teachers Taylor Doo, Nicole Hefner and John Hultgren also have big plans to renovate the school’s on-campus ag facilities, include the student farm. Saturday’s event will help with that.

“I’m told last year was phenomenal,” Doo said. “I wasn’t there, but the turnout was fantastic. There was a lot of community support.”

She said two $1,500 sponsorships still are available. Those interested should call the Denair High office at 632-9911 by 4 p.m. Thursday. The school is closed Friday in honor of the Veterans Day holiday.

Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door, and can be purchased from any FFA student.

There will be food and drinks available Saturday night. Also on sale will be wreaths created by students in the ag floral class, Christmas trees and pumpkins built in the ag mechanics and welding classes, and T-shirts designed by students in the ag leadership class.

Below is a short photo gallery from last years’ event.

Denair Football Coach: Better Days Are Ahead

Submitted by Denair High School

Anthony Armas believes it’s a very good sign that he had a number of football players who couldn’t wait to hit the weight room Monday.

Even though their season ended Friday night.

As it was much of the fall, Denair was competitive in a 27-21 loss to Waterford. It was the Coyotes’ fifth consecutive loss and dropped them to 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the Southern League.

But Armas thinks the experience gained by a very young team – which will lose only three senior starters – will pay off in 2018.

And it was those sophomores and juniors who led the charge into the weight room Monday.

“We have almost everybody coming back,” Armas said. “We’ll be bigger, faster and stronger with a year under their belt. This was our year where we took our lumps, but we have a lot of returning juniors and seniors who were starters.”

Armas is not naïve about the nature of the competition. “Three of the teams from our league are in the playoffs,” he said. But he also realizes if his players can correctly process and correct the mistakes they made this season, and gain weight and size, they have a chance to surprise some people next year.

Denair, it should be noted, is only one year removed from a magical 2016 season in which the Coyotes often had a 14-man roster, yet still made the playoffs.

Quick turnarounds are possible, especially with motivated players and coaches.

“I think the younger guys are ready to get after it,” Armas said. “I had a couple of kids who said they want to win league next year. Our juniors this year won a lot when they were sophomores. Our backfield will be good.”

Friday’s game against Waterford (4-6, 3-4) followed a familiar pattern for Denair. The Coyotes were tied 7-7 at halftime, but a fumble inside the 20-yard line killed one promising drive and a couple of costly mistakes on defense allowed Waterford to score on two long pass plays. Continue reading “Denair Football Coach: Better Days Are Ahead” »

Three Denair Runners to Compete at Section Meet

Submitted by Denair High School

Three underclassmen from the Denair High School cross country team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country Championships this week in Folsom.

Leading the way Saturday at the Sub-Section Meet at the Frogtown Course at the Calaveras County Fairground was freshman Pablo Flores. He finished first in the Division V race on the 2.2-mile course over dirt and pavement with a time of 13 minutes, 31.4 seconds.

Finishing third in the freshman race was Julian Zavala in 15:18.4.

Flores and Zavala both will advance to Friday’s Section meet at Willow Hills Reservoir. They will be joined by sophomore Johnny Ibarra, who was clocked in 15:45 to grab the ninth individual Division V qualifying spot. Brigg Wenstrand finished 20th overall at 15:49, narrowly missing a qualifying spot.

In the varsity boys race, Denair’s Alex Flores completed the 3-mile course in 19:39. He was 66th overall and did not qualify for Folsom.

Seven Denair High Students Honored for Language Skills

Submitted by Denair High School

Seven students at Denair High School have earned prestigious recognition for their bilingual speaking and writing abilities.

Seniors Natalie Soto, Oscar Garcia, Alex Flores, Litzy de la Cruz and Daisy Lopez; junior Analdo Moreno; and sophomore Elvis Silva were awarded the coveted Seal of Multilingual Proficiency in a ceremony Nov. 1 at the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. The designation will be specially noted on their high school diplomas, certifying that they are fluent in English as well as Spanish.

This important recognition helps graduates when they apply to colleges, compete for scholarships or submit job applications.

“This is a verification of their skills,” said Maria Olivas, a Spanish teacher and coordinator of the English Language Development programs in the Denair district. She also serves on the language committee run by the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

This year, about 1,000 students from more than a dozen Stanislaus County high schools applied for the Seal of Multilingual Proficiency. Of that group, 260 were certified as meeting the bilingual standards, according to the County Office of Education. More than 20 different languages were represented.

All students must submit an autobiography in English, followed by a 300-word essay in their other language on a designated topic. Those who pass the first step then went to the county office for face-to-face interviews in both languages. The scores from the autobiography, the essay and the interviews are combined to determine which students qualify for the seal.

“Being proficient in multiple languages enhances a student’s education and value in the marketplace,” said Tom Changnon, the county superintendent of schools. “Our economy is tied to that of other nations, and Californians who participate across international borders bring strength and potential to this state’s global enterprises.”

In the five years of the Multi-Lingual Seal recognition program, 23 Denair students have been awarded certificates.

Denair Still Learning, Despite Fourth Loss in a Row

Submitted by Denair High School

There is nothing like the stark reality of a scoreboard on a Friday night to underscore the importance of the lessons taught at practice the previous four days.

“Mariposa 26, Denair 0” stared at the Coyotes as they walked off the field at halftime last week at Jack Lytton Stadium.

Coach Anthony Armas’ young squad has had a difficult year. One of his mantras week after week is that Denair must learn to play with more “physicality.” Often, the Coyotes have been unable to consistently stand up to the strength and dominance of the opposition.

It happened again Friday. Mariposa was the stronger team – and it showed in the first half. The Grizzlies’ bigger linemen mauled the Coyotes on both sides of the ball, controlling the line of scrimmage and the tempo of the game.

Denair had little margin for error, such as a fumble inside the 10-yard line in the first quarter when the Coyotes had a chance to score.

“They’re pretty physical,” Armas said of Mariposa. “I think some of our kids were a little surprised; I’m not sure why. It’s been like this almost every week. … It’s like it took us a half to wake up.”

To their credit, the Coyotes played much better in the second half.

Steffin Winston returned the opening kickoff for Denair’s first touchdown. Later, he ripped off a 42-yard TD run, followed by a 29-yard scoring dash by Hunter Musgrave in the fourth quarter.

That narrowed the gap to 33-23 Mariposa, but it was as close as Denair got. Mariposa returned an interception for a touchdown late in the game to seal its 40-23 Southern League victory.

The loss was the fourth in a row for Denair (2-7 overall, 1-5 in the SL). There is one game left and nothing approaching the excitement of last year’s improbable playoff run that Coyotes fans won’t soon forget.

And even as the five senior football players – plus the seniors in the band and on the cheerleading squad – were honored before their final home game Friday, Armas has tried to keep the season in perspective. Continue reading “Denair Still Learning, Despite Fourth Loss in a Row” »