Coyotes Crush Waterford 62-21 in Season Finale

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

For the Denair High football team, the 2014 season was always going to be about more than wins and losses.

It was about a new coach with a whole new playbook. It was about the value discipline and hard work. Mostly, it was about changing a culture and restoring energy and confidence to a program that had lost its way.

Mission accomplished.

The Coyotes – who didn’t win a game last year – showed how far they’ve come with a dominating 62-21 victory over Waterford on Friday night at Jack W. Lytton Stadium.

The victory was Denair’s third in 10 games this season and punctuated the improvement that has taken place since new coach Ted Howze and his staff took over last spring.

“I think we played better than a 3-7 team at times,” said Howze. “There were at least three more games we should have won, but these kids came a long ways as juniors and seniors.

“Looking back, you’d have to be satisfied. … This is a multi-year project. No. 1, we have to change the culture with kids we have in the program. No. 2, we have to attract kids back to the program and who are at the school and not playing or have transferred out of the district. That’s our two big things. I feel like we’ve done both.”

Against Waterford, Denair left no doubt who the better team was with an impressive first half that featured three successful onside kicks in a row.

The Coyotes took the opening kicked and drove 80 yards for a touchdown, burning 8 minutes off the clock. They recovered a squib kicked, scored another touchdown … and then recovered two more inside kicks before Waterford ever touched the ball.

Denair led 27-0 before Waterford ran its first offensive play with about 3 minutes to play in the first half. Continue reading “Coyotes Crush Waterford 62-21 in Season Finale” »

Denair Loses Heartbreaker to Le Grand

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Keep it simple. That was the theme last week at Denair High’s football practices. It almost paid off in another agonizingly close loss Friday night against powerful Le Grand.

In a game played in a steady rain, the short-handed Coyotes competed bravely until a late score by Le Grand sealed its 21-12 Southern League win.

Denair (2-7 overall, 0-6 SL) and Le Grand (7-2, 6-0) are at opposite ends of the league standings. But the Coyotes gave the Bulldogs a scare on a wet Halloween night, threatening to take the lead until a costly fumble recovered by Le Grand in its own end zone late in the game.

“We played a helluva football game,” said Denair coach Ted Howze, whose 18-player varsity roster was thinned when one player got the flu and couldn’t play and another was injured during the game.

Even before those two setbacks, Howze and his staff decided last week that the Coyotes needed to refocus on some basics – especially on defense – to regain their competitive edge.

“I really stripped the defense down to its core elements. … We simplified everyone’s responsibilities,” Howze explained.

The results were evident during a tight first half in which Le Grand built a 7-0 lead. Denair missed a chance to tie the game in the second quarter when it lost the first of its two key fumbles inside the Le Grand 10 yard line.

“Our team played flat out stellar football in the first half. The best we played all season,” Howze said.

Howze singled out defensive ends Dominyc Silva and Trenton Howze, along with nose-tackle-turned-cornerback Richie Richards, as key to holding Le Grand’s offensive in check. Richards has been a terror all season on the line, but moved outside Friday with no practice after starting cornerback Weston Fair came down with the flu and couldn’t play. Continue reading “Denair Loses Heartbreaker to Le Grand” »

Outgunned Coyotes Defeated by Ripon Christian

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

The excitement of an afternoon homecoming celebration gave way to the harsh reality of a tough football season Friday night for the Denair High team.

Outmanned and physically overmatched, the Coyotes quietly were beaten 31-0 by Ripon Christian before an enthusiastic crowd at Jack W. Lytton Stadium.

A week after nearly upsetting Orestimba on the road, Denair saw the accumulation of injuries and roster attrition undermine its chances against Ripon Christian. The Coyotes suited up just 19 players, five of whom were nursing various aches and pains that kept them from contributing to the fullest.

Despite another gritty effort, the outcome wasn’t in doubt after the first quarter. Denair trailed 31-0 at halftime after RC quarterback Billy Marr threw four touchdown passes. With a running clock the entire second half, neither team found the end zone again.

The loss dropped the Coyotes to 0-5 in the Southern League and 2-6 overall with two games left in the season – this week at league-leading Le Grand (6-2, 5-0), followed by a home game against Waterford (1-7, 0-5).

“Le Grand is a quality team with quality athletes,” assessed first-year Denair coach Ted Howze. “We’ve got our hands full.”

Though the on-field results haven’t always reflected it, Howze said the program has improved this season after going winless a year ago.

“We continue to work on getting better. We continue to prepare our underclassmen for next year. And we tell our seniors to have fun these last two games,” said Howze.

The junior varsity team, in particular, offers realistic hope for future. The Coyotes defeated Ripon Christian 12-7 Friday night, raising their record to 3-1-1 in the Southern League and 5-2-1 overall. Since Waterford does not have a JV team, Howze plans to promote all the sophomores to the varsity for the final game of the season.

“It’s coming,” he said of another victory at the varsity level. “The work ethic is there; you can see it.”

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Coyotes Lose 48-41 Thriller to Orestimba

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

It wasn’t a hard decision, Denair High football coach Ted Howze explained.

His gritty team had just scored a touchdown to pull within 40-39 against Orestimba. There was a minute, 56 seconds left in the game Friday night. The Coyotes’ defense was tired, they were on the road and, most of all, Howze wanted his players to celebrate a victory.

So he went for a two-point conversion. Quarterback Dominyc Silva deftly faked a handoff and then followed a powerful block from Joe Brazil to reach the end zone. Denair had its first lead of the night, 41-40, with less than two minutes to play.

“We were going for a win right there,” Howze admitted. “We knew defensively we were having trouble stopping them. We didn’t want to go into overtime.”

Unfortunately, Denair’s clutch play on offense was undermined by its inability to make one final stop on defense in what turned out to be a disappointing 48-41 Southern League loss to Orestimba.

On its last drive, Orestimba converted a third-and-16 deep in its own territory and, on a fourth-and-6 from the Denair 15 yard line, threw a touchdown pass for what proved to be the winning points.

“It was a great football game, one of the best I’ve ever been part of at any level,” Howze said.

Denair (2-5 overall, 0-4 SL) rallied from a 33-20 deficit to take the lead, using three touchdowns each from Austin Hughes and Alex Valle. Valle’s third score – an 18-yard run – was the one that set up Silva’s two-point conversion that gave the Coyotes their only lead.

“We challenged our kids at halftime,” Howze said. “Offensively we played well, but we were struggling on defense. Our biggest issues are tackling and, because we’ve had so many injuries, that we have kids playing different positions on defense.” Continue reading “Coyotes Lose 48-41 Thriller to Orestimba” »

Coyotes Drop Southern League Game to Gustine

DHS Coyotes Football

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

It was a tale of two halves Friday night for the Denair High football team against Gustine.

The Coyotes emerged from a back-and-forth first half with a one-point lead, only to have a number of crucial penalty calls go against them in the final two quarters in an entertaining but ultimately disappointing 35-22 Southern League loss.

Denair (2-4, 0-3) led 22-21 at halftime and was poised to record its first league victory, but couldn’t sustain any offensive rhythm in the final two quarters.

“We were still running the same game plan, but every time we moved the ball, we got a penalty flag,” said head coach Ted Howze. “The officials took our kids out of the game.”

Gustine (5-1, 2-1) scored first in the opening quarter, but Denair quickly responded. On the first play after the kickoff, senior running back Austin Hughes broke loose up the middle and sprinted 70 yards for a touchdown to tie the score 7-7.

Gustine marched down the field again to score another touchdown early in the second quarter. Again, the Coyotes answered, this time on a 37-yard TD pass from Dominyc Silva to tight end Brandon Steeley.

Sensing Gustine was aggressively trying to block the point-after kick, Denair ran a perfect fake. Silva again found Steeley on a pass for the two-point conversion to give Denair a 15-14 lead.

The teams exchanged punts before Gustine scored once more to move ahead 21-15. The Coyotes got the ball back with about two minutes left in the half and efficiently marched down the field. They capped the drive on Alex Valle’s 3-yard TD run with 6 seconds to play to take a 22-21 lead into halftime. Continue reading “Coyotes Drop Southern League Game to Gustine” »