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PREP ROUNDUP: Lightning cuts Denair opener short
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Jesse Ruelas gains yards for the Coyotes during the game against Big Valley on Saturday evening. The game was called during half time due to weather conditions (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

It was a Saturday full of football fun in Denair as six games were played at Jack W. Lytton Stadium for the first-ever Denair Football Classic. The event was a collaborative effort between Denair High, Big Valley Christian High and their youth programs, with the varsity game between the Coyotes and Lions headlining the day. 

Unfortunately for the fans who just who nearly packed the stadium, they were only treated to half of the varsity matchup as the game was called at halftime due to lightning.

At the time, the Coyotes trailed 14-6.

In the little time that the Coyotes had on the field, Denair head coach Anthony Armas was proud the way his roster of 14 players stopped the Lions’ offense on multiple occasions. He was also impressed with the running of junior Jesse Ruelas, who was the only scorer for the Coyotes in their limited action. Ruelas punched in a touchdown from 2 yards out in the first quarter.

Despite the Coyotes playing just 24 minutes, it was their first game action of the season after their scrimmages were canceled last week. Nevertheless, Armas felt as if he saw what he needed to see from his young squad.

“This was the first time we faced off with somebody else and saw the things we needed to fix,” he said. “There was nothing that was too worrying, just some normal stuff you have to fix at the start of the year, so I think we’ll be alright going forward as long as we can stay healthy.”

The Coyotes experienced a couple of minor injuries. Luckily, this week they have their first of two by weeks this season.

“I look forward to the two weeks now trying to get some of these guys a little healed up,” Armas said.

The Coyotes will be back in action on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. in Riverbank to take on the Bruins in their final game before Southern Athletic League competition officially gets underway.


Rocklin 31, Turlock 3, at Rocklin — While lightning dampened the mood in Denair, the Bulldogs also had to deal with the elements during their season opener in Rocklin: in this case, the Thunder offense.

Rocklin executed a well-balanced offensive attack, as sophomore quarterback Reeve Slone completed 12 passes for 157 yards, while six different rushers racked up 149 yards on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs generated just 123 yards. 

In his first career start, Turlock quarterback Vincent Gonzalez passed for 81 yards while dealing with heavy pressure throughout the game. The senior dropped back seven times and was sacked on three occasions. The running game experienced similar struggles, being tackled six times for losses.

The Bulldogs have another tough test ahead Friday when they host Clovis West at Joe Debely Stadium. Last season the Eagles soared to a 48-0 victory over the Bulldogs on their way to a 10-2 finish and an appearance in the 2022 CIF Central Section semifinals.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.  

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Hughson defensive back David Delgado sacks Ceres quarterback Donovan Osuna in the first half of Friday’s game. The Huskies won 32-0 (DALE BUTLER/The Journal).

Hughson 32, Ceres 0, at Ceres — Huskies quarterback Robert McDaniel completed 11 of 22 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns — he also ran for a score — as the defending state 5-AA champions pitched a shutout against the Bulldogs.

Larkin Meyer was McDaniel’s main target, catching four passes for 116 yards. Max Mankins had three catches for 38 yards, while Malakai Sumter and David Delgado had two catches, and one touchdown apiece.

Alexander Villarreal, who carried the ball 14 times for 67 yards, and Cesar Ramos, delivered Hughson’s other touchdowns.

David Burns carried the ball just three times, but led the team with 72 yards rushing, the bulk of it coming on a 49-yard run. Burns also led the team with eight tackles on defense, while Delgado had five tackles — three for losses — and two sacks. 


Turlock girls golf wins Hilmar tournament — Junior Savannah Van Gaalen carded a three-over-par 75 to claim medalist honors and lead the Bulldogs to the team title of the Yellowjacket Invitational held at Turlock Golf and Country Club.

The Bulldogs shot 341 as a team, followed by Oakdale (356) and Argonaut (368).

Van Gaalen’s 75 was one stroke better than Lillian McGowan of Union Mine and Mimi Whang of Gregori.

The Bulldogs’ Sydney Streeter placed fifth overall with a round of 83.

Reece Benjamin carded an 88, Kate Harrington finished with a 95, and Frankie-Marie Rondeaux rounded out Turlock’s five with a 114.

Hughson finished fifth as team with a total of 457, and was led by Lily Ulrich’s 98, while Hilmar tied Escalon for seventh with a 446, and was packed by a 93 from Lilly Garza.