Denair ‘Shoots Itself in The Foot’ in 28-14 Loss to Delhi

Submitted by Denair High School

Self-inflicted wounds sometimes hurt the worst. Just ask the Denair Coyotes football team.

Denair ripped off three long touchdown runs against rival Delhi on Friday night, only to have one of them wiped out by a penalty. The Coyotes also self-destructed with a couple of costly turnovers deep in their own territory and a slew of ill-timed penalties.

The result was a disappointing 28-14 Southern League loss to the Hawks.

After back-to-back losses against better and more physical teams (Ripon Christian and Orestimba), Denair Coach Anthony Armas anticipated a more even matchup against Delhi. What he didn’t expect was his team to lose its focus.

“We just shot ourselves in the foot at the wrong times,” he said. “We dropped some balls we should have caught. We threw some balls into the ground we should have completed. And the penalties just killed us.

“It was just mistakes all across the board.”

Armas recognizes he has a young team, with just five seniors among his 23 players. But he also knows that eight games into a 10-game season, it’s not simply a lack of experience holding his team back. Understanding how to control their emotions and play with poise is part of learning how to win.

“Our goal is to make this program better by doing it the right way,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure guys are dialed in and learning. That’s the big emphasis. To fix it.”

The Coyotes (2-6 overall, 1-4 in SL) started well against Delhi (3-5, 1-4).

With about 7 minutes left in the first quarter and back up on their own 3-yard line, Steffin Winston took advantage of the aggressive Hawks defense, which was crowding the line of scrimmage hoping for a safety. Instead, Winston took a handoff from Drew Pritchard on a trap play, hit the hole hard and found himself in the clear for a 97-yard sprint to the end zone.

Denair had little time to enjoy its lead.

Two plays after the kickoff, Delhi answered with a long run of its own to tie the score.

The Hawks added another TD on a 4-yard pass in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Continue reading “Denair ‘Shoots Itself in The Foot’ in 28-14 Loss to Delhi” »

Unbeaten Orestimba Too Much for Gritty Coyotes

Submitted by Denair High School

Bigger, stronger, faster. It’s a theme consistently repeated for most of the past month as a young Denair High football team tries to compete against larger, more experienced rosters in the Southern League.

Friday night’s 58-20 home loss to unbeaten Orestimba was more of the same. The Coyotes showed flashes of potential and crisp execution, only to be undone by a blown assignment or other costly mistake.

“Our effort is not the problem,” said Coach Anthony Armas. “Our defense will shut someone down for two of three plays, then give up a big play. We’re just not consistent.”

Orestimba is the defending Southern League champion. Its senior-laden roster is full of players who have the confidence that comes with that success. Still, scrappy Denair went toe-to-toe with the Warriors in the first quarter Friday, which ended in a scoreless tie and included a blocked punt by the Coyotes’ Scott Badal.

But Orestimba (7-0 overall, 4-0 in league) quickly took control in the second period, scoring three touchdowns while controlling Denair’s offense.

“They really took the run away, which is what we want to do,” Armas said. “They were bringing a lot of heat. They had a big linebacker and some long guys on the edge who gave us some issues. They basically dared us to pass and that’s not our offense.”

That defensive pressure led to an Orestimba safety late in the quarter, giving the Warriors a 23-0 lead. But Orestimba muffed the ensuing Denair punt and Blake Davis recovered for the Coyotes (2-5, 1-3). A few plays later, quarterback Drew Pritchard escaped the rush and found Davis with a pretty 26-yard touchdown pass.

But Orestimba scored three more times in the third quarter and twice in the fourth to blow the game open and force a running clock.

The lone second-half highlights for Denair were two long kickoff returns for touchdowns by Hunter Musgrave – one for 88 yards and the other for 80 on the final play of the game

Junior varsity game: Orestimba shut out Denair 12-0. The Coyotes fell to 1-2 in league play and 2-3 overall.

This week: The Coyotes take to the road Friday to square off with rival Delhi (2-5, 0-4). “This is always a knockdown, drag-out fight,” Armas said. “They’ll stick a bunch of people in the box and dare us to throw it, just like everyone else. … They’re in about the same situation as us when it comes to numbers, but they’re our biggest rival so that doesn’t really mean much.”

Underdog Denair Faces Mighty Orestimba in Football

Submitted by Denair High School

Even in the best of conditions, it’s tough enough trying to prepare for the best football team in the Southern League. Wednesday was not the best of conditions for the Denair Coyotes, who host unbeaten Orestimba on Friday night.

Strong north winds pushed a thick layer of smoke from the Napa and Sonora wildfires into the valley and sent air-quality readings into the unhealthy range. Taking no precautions, school officials in Denair and across the region appropriately cancelled outdoor events. Including football practice.

It clearly was the right decision. Everyone’s health is more important than any one workout. But it added another hurdle into what already looms as one of Denair’s biggest challenges – how to keep up with mighty Orestimba (6-0 overall, 3-0 in the SL).

Typically, Wednesday is the day Denair practices at night at Don Lytton Stadium. That didn’t happen.

“Usually, Wednesday is our best day of practice,” said Coach Anthony Armas. “We’re in the stadium, under the lights, in full pads. The guys like it.”

Denair (2-4, 1-2) is coming off a 36-14 loss last week at Ripon Christian, another game that Armas feels like the Coyotes were physically overmatched.

“We get matchups with certain teams that just aren’t good for us,” he said. “RC is very big. That was kind of rough. Le Grand is more like us (referring to Denair’s 63-20 victory two weeks ago).”

Orestimba will present more of the same size challenges. The Warriors also are skilled at many positions, plus they have nearly twice as many players on their roster as Denair. The Coyotes’ 23-man roster is light on seniors (5) and relies heavily on sophomores (7) pulled up from the JV team.

“They’re the best team in our league and have been the past couple of years,” Armas said. “We’re not going to do anything different. We’ll prepare like every other team. We’ll focus on us and how to get our offense better, and our defense and special teams.”

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium.

Denair Sports Boosters Host First Annual Bratoberfest

Submitted by Denair Sports Boosters

On Saturday, October 7, 2017, Denair Sports Boosters will be hosting it’s First Annual Bratoberfest & Gun Raffle from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm, at the Denair Community Center. They will be serving a variety of Bratwurst, along with sauerkraut, potato salad and a selection of beer for a traditional Octoberfest style celebration. Big screen TV’s will be broadcasting college football throughout the evening, as well as a variety of gun raffles. Tickets are $35 for all you can eat and drink. Proceeds from the event will benefit Denair Football.  Tickets are available by calling (209) 380-8180, or at the door the day of the event.

Despite Loss, Denair Football Coach Sees Improvement

Submitted by Denair High School

Sometimes, especially with a group of young players like this year’s Denair football team, improvement can’t always be measured by wins and losses. Sometimes, statistical dominance can be misleading. Sometimes, progress requires closer analysis.

Such was the case with Friday night’s 42-28 loss by Denair to Gustine – a game in which the Coyotes courageously fought despite being physically overpowered much of the time.

“We played better than we have all year,” complimented coach Anthony Armas. “We still have a lot of things to fix, but we were much more physical.”

Armas’ analysis is based on Denair’s grit and competitiveness. “The last couple of years, Gustine kind of bullied us and knocked us around. Not Friday.”

Gustine still won most every battle in the trenches. The Redskins punished the Denair defense on the ground behind running backs Oliver Perez (20 carries, 173 yards, 3 TDs rushing, 1 receiving), Bryan Villalobos (18 carries, 177 yards, 1 TD) and Brandon Garbez (10 carries, 101 yards).

“They have a really big line and a couple of good backs,” Armas acknowledged, adding that despite the numbers, he thought his defense showed courage. “They ran a lot of power plays against us, but I was proud of the way way we took on blocks. Our issue on defense is we have a lot of young kids who still are trying to understand our scheme.”

In all, Gustine ran for 496 yards and averaged 9 yards a carry. The Reds (1-0 Southern League, 3-1 overall) also passed for 111 yards to pile up more than 600 yards in total offense.

But this is where stats can be deceptive.

Denair (0-1, 1-3) relied on big plays to offset Gustine’s interior dominance. The Coyotes’ shortest touchdown was a 30-yard run by Dylan De Silva in the second quarter that helped forge a 14-14 halftime tie.

Earlier, quarterback Drew Pritchard threw a short pass to Hunter Musgrave, who turned it into a 66-yard TD by racing through the Gustine defense. Musgrave also returned a kickoff 90 yards in the third quarter for another score. Continue reading “Despite Loss, Denair Football Coach Sees Improvement” »