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Turnovers Kill Madera in Valley Championship - Bullpups Maul Coyotes 35-14 Print E-mail
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Written by Jack Porter   
Friday, 05 December 2014 23:16
HANFORD - Turnovers kill Madera High's chance to compete in the school's first CIF Central Section Valley Championship since 1986. In a rematch of last year's opening playoff round, Madera High traveled to Hanford to take on the Bullpups of Hanford High School. In that game the number 10 seed Madera beat up on number 7 seed Hanford for a 73-35 win.

This year the two teams made it to the final game for a Valley Championship that both teams have not won in either school's history. Tonight would be a first for two schools that have existed for over a hundred years each. Hanford comes into the game with an 11-1 record and Madera's record is 9-3.  Great seasons for both schools but only one can walk away with the championship hardware.

In last year's game Madera High Quarterback Nathaniel Nelson racked up 555 yards and netted 6 touchdowns. Tonight turned into complete 180 degree turn from last years results as Madera turned over the ball five times and Nelson was held to only 43 yards in the first half alone.

Madera Coyote fans filled the Neighborhood Bowl in Hanford with several rooter buses and a caravan of cars making the 45 minute drive down Freeway 99 to Highway 43. In Hanford, the bigger crowd was certainly the Coyotes and gave Madera the advantage.

In the first quarter Madera received the kickoff and started their opening drive on the 41 yard-line. Madera would get the ball to midfield by fourth down and went for it with only inches to the first-down. Nelson's keeper on the next play would give Madera another set of downs, but then an interception by Hanford's Nathaniel Hunt would turn the ball over to the Bullpups.

Madera and Hanford would both go four and out on back to back sets. Hanford forced a Madera fumble and recovered the ball from Madera's section turnover. Hanford ended up doing nothing on the plays after the turnover and then punted away to Madera.

Then with just a couple minutes left in the first quarter Hanford's Francisco Ramirez would pick off a pass by Nelson for Madera's second interception of the night (3rd turn over).

In Hanford's first real positive play of the night, Hunt hit Ryan Johnson with a 25-yard pass to Madera's 40 yard line. At the end of the first quarter Hanford moved the ball to Madera's 10 yard line. Less than a minute into the second quarter Joseph McDaniel scores from the 1-yardline to give Hanford a 7-0 lead. Over the course of the night, Madera was constantly playing catch-up to the Bullpups.

When Madera got the ball back they fought to the 20-yardline and decided to go for a field goal. Madera's kicker Evan Rios, who is dangerous from 50-yards away, failed on a 31-yard field goal kick turning the ball back over to Hanford.

On a 11 play set, Hanford drove down the field 80 yards to the one yard line. On the next play Juwuane Hughes crossed into the end-zone to put the Bullpups up 14-0 with 3:14 left in the half. But before Madera could head off to the locker-room, Jesus Jimenez takes a delayed handoff and sprints 33 yards for Madera's first of two touchdowns on the night. The teams leave the field with Hanford up 14-7 at the half.

In the second half the Bullpups had more to pile on to the Coyotes. Less than three minutes into the third quarter Hanford's Ryan Johnson scrambles and hits a wide-open Hughes for an 11-yard touchdown as Hanford goes up 21-7. When Madera gets the ball back, they give it right back to Hanford with a Jimenez fumble at the Coyotes 41-yardline.

For the second time Hanford does nothing with the ball on their next set of downs and turn it back over to Madera. It seemed like Madera wasn't going to do anything either, then on fourth down with 15-yards to go, Nelson hits Alec Gamboa for a touchdown and brings the score back to a seven point game 21-14 with just 16-seconds left in the third quarter.

Gamboa has been Madera's standout player this season signing to play baseball three weeks ago for Fresno State. In fact, when a concussion knocked Gamboa out of the lineup for three games, Madera lost their only games of the year. Since Gamboa's return, the Coyotes have been on a winning streak.

As the game enters the fourth quarter Hughes pulls in a 57-yard pass from Johnson to put Hanford again on Madera's 1-yard line. Johnson keeps the ball on a dash into the end-zone to put Hanford up 18-14 with 9:33 left in the game.

Hanford was hit with a 'roughing-the-passer' call that would have given Nelson his third inception on the night. But just a few minutes later, Nelson gave it up again as Hughes intercepted the ball in the end-zone with 6:43 left. After running 2 minutes off the clock Joseph McDaniel takes off for a 34-yard run that seals Madera's fate and puts Hanford up 35-14 with 4:23 left.

With than, Madera comes up short on their last position and Hanford gets the ball back with 3 minutes left on the clock. Hanford burns the time down to zero to walk away with their first ever Valley Championship.

Though they obviously lost, Madera played their best season since 1986. Big Valley News would like to congratulate the boys from Madera on the tremendous effort they put in this year. All of Madera is very proud of each and every one of you.


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