High-Powered Denair Hammers Gustine 49-14

Submitted by Denair High School

GUSTINE – The play is called “Power,” which accurately describes what Denair’s offense intends to do to opponents.

Overpower them.

Friday night against Gustine, the Coyotes imposed their will in the second half by running “Power Left” and “Power Right” again and again in a 49-14 Southern League victory.

Denair (5-1, overall, 2-1 in the SL) actually trailed 14-7 at halftime, when it regrouped with two of its starting offensive linemen – left guard Hayden Haile (shoulder) and left tackle Zach Cherry (ankle) – sidelined by injury.

“We had to shuffle it around. We were scrambling to find that place where we were comfortable,” said Coach Anthony Armas.

Typically, that means reverting back to “Power” – a play that Armas, a former offensive lineman, calls one of his favorites.

“Power” involves most of the offensive linemen blocking straight ahead while either guard pulls to lead the play, depending on which direction it goes. It’s one of the first plays every football team learns.

“We narrowed the scope of what we did and stayed with the plays we were running well,” Armas explained. “All our kids know ‘Power.’ We just mixed it up between that and a few other plays.”

Reserves Emannuel Zapien (left tackle) and Quentin Parker (left guard) rose to the occasion, Armas said, working with the other offensive linemen to create plenty of space for running backs Hunter Musgrave, Dylan De Silva and Steffin Winston to repeatedly gashed the Reds’ defense.

Musgrave had his best game of the season, ripping off 206 yards on 18 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Winston ran 14 times for 84 yards and a TD, and DeSilva pounded Gustine for 61 yards and three more touchdowns.

Denair’s defense also had a big role in the romp, forcing three Gustine turnovers in the second half (two fumbles and one interception by Will Knox). The Coyotes turned each of those takeaways into points while holding the Reds scoreless.

“We were more aggressive in the second half. We filled our gaps better. We were flying to the ball,” Armas said.

The victory moved Denair into a four-way tie with Orestimba (5-1, 2-1), Waterford (5-1, 2-1) and Gustine (4-2, 2-1) for second place in the league behind unbeaten Ripon Christian (6-0, 3-0).

RC already has handed Denair and Orestimba their only losses. It plays at Gustine this week while Denair faces another tough road game on the West Side in Newman against Orestimba. Waterford hosts Mariposa.

JV Game: Denair 7, Gustine 0. The Coyotes are 1-3-1 overall and 1-2 in league play.

This week: It doesn’t get any easier for the Coyotes, who face an Orestimba team that just had its 23-game Southern League winning streak snapped. “They’re talented, especially on the offensive side of the ball,” Armas said. “They’re really aggressive on defense. … It’s going to be tough. It’s their homecoming; they’re coming off a loss. It should be a charged atmosphere. It will be fun.” … Denair has scored 241 points in six games despite being held to only one touchdown in its 35-7 loss to Ripon Christian. … A victory this week would put the Coyotes in a good position for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoff berth with three weeks to play – home games against Delhi and Waterford sandwiched around a road contest in Mariposa.

Denair Suffers First Loss to Unbeaten Ripon Christian; Will Try to Rebound Against Gustine This Week

Submitted by Denair High School

DENAIR – The first four weeks of Denair’s football season were marked by big plays on offense and an aggressive, swarming defense. The Coyotes averaged 44 points a game thanks to a potent running game featuring three elusive backs.

But Friday night against mighty Ripon Christian, it was the unbeaten Knights who made all the big plays in their 35-7 Southern League victory over Denair at Jack Lytton Stadium.

“They really good,” praised Denair coach Anthony Armas. “Hands down, that’s the best team we’ll face all year.”

Probably the game’s key sequence occurred in the third quarter with Denair trailing 21-7, but driving for a possible touchdown that would have made it a one-score game. The Coyotes had the ball on the RC 10-yard-line, but were stopped when a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

On the next play, Ripon Christian running back Michael Kamps (15 carries, 186 yards, 3 TDs) broke free for a long touchdown run.

Just that suddenly, the air was sucked out of the Denair sideline. What might have been a doable 21-14 deficit with all the momentum in front of a frenzied crowd with a quarter to play became a 28-7 RC advantage.

“We couldn’t punch it in and then they had a 90-yard run,” Armas said. “That was tough.”

A similar sequence occurred near the end of the first half. Trailing 14-0, the Coyotes again drove deep into Knights territory. But Denair missed on a third-down pass attempt, then failed to convert a 33-yard field goal try.

“They had two or three big plays and our longest was about 30 yards,” Armas said.

Running back Steffin Winston led Denair’s offense with 101 yards on the ground. The Coyotes’ only touchdown came in the third quarter on a 9-yard pass from Elvis Silva to Drew Pritchard.

And though Denair moved the ball throughout the game, RC’s defense stiffened when the Coyotes threatened the end zone.

“They like to get after people,” Armas said of RC. “They blitz a lot. They dare you to throw the ball quickly. We had some good drives, but we couldn’t score like we’ve been doing.”

The victory kept the Knights (5-0 overall, 2-0 Southern League) unbeaten in what is shaping up to be a five-way battle for not only the league title but also the coveted playoff spots for the new few teams.

RC is tied with Orestimba (4-1, 2-0) and Gustine (4-1, 2-0) for first place, with Denair (4-1, 1-1) and Waterford (4-1, 1-1) just a game behind.

Denair plays at Gustine this week while Ripon Christian hosts Orestimba. Depending on the results, the standings could even tighter by the end of Friday night.

“We all knew Ripon Christian was going to be good,” Armas said. “It’s a tough league. Really tough.”

JV Game: Ripon Christian 39, Denair 0. The Coyotes fell to 0-3-1 overall and 0-2 in league play.

This week: Denair continues the Southern League gauntlet with a road game in Gustine. What will be the message this week in practice? “Regroup and move forward,” Armas said. “Realistically, we’re not going to go undefeated. We’ve got to bounce back.” … Denair expects to again rely on running backs Winston, Dylan De Silva and Hunter Musgrave to carry the offensive lead. On defense, Armas said the Coyotes will have to be stout against the run. “They’ve got a good running back and some big linemen,” he said of Gustine. … The Reds are coming off a 17-14 victory in Mariposa.

Denair Volleyball Squad Making Strides As Season Progresses

Submitted by Denair High School

There are eight matches left in the Denair High volleyball season. And though the Coyotes have struggled at times – winning just once — Coach Christy North has seen consistent improvement and competitiveness. She believes Denair will play a factor in which team wins the Southern League title this fall.

“We continue to work on our serve receive issues, while steadily increasing our own serve percentage,” North said. “However, we are a stronger team than in the past, and are improving our strategies and skills each contest.

“I still believe we can have a .500 record (in league), and definitely be a spoiler against a team who doesn’t take us seriously.”

The Coyotes (1-10 overall, 1-4 in the SL) will rely on its two senior co-captains — setter Adrianna Snyder and outside hitter Cheyenne Souza – to lead the way to more success.

Snyder missed about a month and a half after suffering a concussion the first week of the season. North could see a difference when she returned. “I think her energy was contagious.”

North said Souza consistently has put pressure on opponents with her serves and aggressiveness at the net.

In Denair’s lone victory – a 3-2 win over Gustine on Sept. 11 — freshman Caitlin Warda came off the bench to start as outside hitter in the deciding game and served seven points in a row, including two aces.

North said the Coyotes still are refining their skills using a “libero,” which is a defensive specialist. Liberos must wear a contrasting jersey color from  her teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height.

Junior Tati Abebe began playing libero in the Gustine match.

The Coyotes’ next match is home against Waterford on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

De Silva Scores 5 TDs as Unbeaten Coyotes Roll to 56-28 Victory Over Stone Ridge Christian

Submitted by Denair High School

ATWATER — Three games. Three blowouts. And now, in the mind of Denair High football coach Anthony Armas, the real season begins.

Dylan De Silva ran for 187 yards and five touchdowns Friday night as the unbeaten Coyotes erupted in the second half for a 56-28 non-league victory over Stone Ridge Christian.

Denair’s offense has been unstoppable in the first three weeks of the season, averaging 48 points behind a potent backfield trio of De Silva, Hunter Musgrave, and Steffin Winston.

The Coyotes’ defense – which features most of the same players as the offense – has been overshadowed but still very effective. They’ve recorded one shutout while holding opponents to an average of 15.3 points per game.

Up next for Denair (3-0) is the seven-game gauntlet that is the Southern League schedule, beginning Friday night at Le Grand.

“I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves,” said Armas when asked about the meaning of a perfect preseason. He knows there are some tough opponents ahead in a league that features three undefeated teams (Denair, Ripon Christian Waterford) and as well as perennial powers Gustine, Orestimba, and Mariposa.

Friday night against Stone Ridge – on a converted athletic field at the former Castle Air Force Base – Denair took two quarters before asserting its dominance. The game was tied 21-21 at halftime before the Coyotes outscored the Knights 35-7 in the final two periods.

Much of the damage came on the same play – a trap to De Silva that Stone Ridge never figured out how to stop. The junior back consistently ripped off big chunks of yardage behind key blocks from tackles Zach Cherry and Derek Starkey and tight end Will Knox.

And when Stone Ridge began to key in on De Silva, Denair handed the ball to Musgrave (12 carries, 129 yards, 1 TD) or Winston (5 carries, 66 yards, 2 TDs).

Amazingly, Denair attempted just two passes Friday. One was a 29-yard completion to Winston on a screen; the other resulted in a sack.

“When our offense is going, you have to cover a lot of stuff as a defense,” Armas said. “Some people try to overload to one side to stop us, but that just leaves someone else free.”

Defensively, Armas credited the Coyotes for responding well to halftime adjustments made by the coaching staff.

“Every game is a feeling out process,” he said. “We had a game plan going in. … We made some tweaks at halftime. I think the kids have a better understanding each week of what we’re trying to do. We’re getting better at reading our keys and filling holes.”

Spearheading the defense were defensive end Scott Badal and middle linebacker Christian Obando.

Armas is satisfied with the progress the Coyotes are making but knows they must keep improving to compete successfully in the Southern League.

“Even plays that are working for us, we can get better,” he said. “Each week, we’re always trying to put something in – new plays, trick plays – to keep it fun for the kids. We may not use it that week, but you never know. And defensively, we still can get better at tackling.”

JV Game: Denair lost 20-12 at home to Mesa Verde of Citrus Heights.

This week: The Coyotes play at Le Grand (1-2), which is coming off a 27-20 loss to Linden. Armas said Le Grand is still in a “rebuilding process,” but has some talent. “They’ve got some big linemen and a good running back. I think it will be physically challenging. I expect them to take some shots down the field.” … Denair debuted at No. 5 in the Modesto Bee’s small-school rankings, which Armas was quick to shrug off. “That’s nice, but it’s just one guy’s opinion.”

Cross Country Runners Hoping to Gain Momentum

Submitted by Denair High School

The Denair High School cross country team will look to rebound from a slow start in the coming weeks.

The Coyotes finished sixth Thursday in the first of two Southern League meets at Tuolumne River Regional Park in Modesto.

Denair’s team score of 128 (based on the cumulative total of where the five fastest runners finished in the race) left it well behind Waterford (30 points), Orestimba (48), Delhi (56) and Ripon Christian (94).

Senior Uriel Gonzalez (22 minutes, 58 seconds) and sophomore Pablo Flores (22:03) finished back-to-back in 21st and 22nd places, respectively. Juniors Brigg Wenstrand (26:13, 35th), Ramiro Diaz (26:16, 36th), Alex de la Torre (28:49, 38th) and Johnny Ibarra (28:50, 39th) also competed on the relatively flat 5K course.

Coach Matthew Groom takes responsibility for the results, but he has an understandable explanation – he just returned to school after taking time off around the birth of his son. As a result, practices, training, and participation were sporadic in the past month.

“We will work hard for the next league meet at the end of the month,” Groom promised. “I would like to get our points down to around 115 at our next meet and I hope we can break 100 points at the league finals (in late October).”

Groom credits Gonzalez, the team captain, for setting the right example during practice.

“He has shown great leadership,” the coach said. “He has worked hard every day in practice and will continue to improve on the year.”

Groom expects Flores to challenge Gonzalez as the team’s top runner this fall. That makes sense. As a freshman last year, Flores won the Sac-Joaquin Section title for his class. He will run varsity races during the regular season, but race against only sophomores in the postseason.

“I have high expectations for Pablo,” Groom said.

Wenstrand and Ibarra are veterans of last year’s team, while de la Torre and Diaz are new to cross country. Both are veterans of the soccer team in the winter; Diaz also competes in track in the spring.

“This was his first 5k and he beat some runners who have been doing this for a few years,” Groom said of Diaz. “He has a sprinting background and he is an excellent runner in the 100 and 200 for track.  I am excited about his potential, and looking forward to how good he will be when he gets more practice with running distance.”