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Sanchez’s hat trick leads Coyotes to second straight Section championship
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Denair's Angel Sanchez scores against Rio Vista during the Division 6 Semi Final game Thursday evening. Sanchez scored 3 of the 5 total points during the game. Denair won 5-0 (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Coyotes of Denair High School are once again headed to the boys soccer Division VI CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship after cruising to a 5-0 victory in their semifinal match against the Rio Vista High Rams on Thursday night. Denair’s top goal-scorer, Angel Sanchez, once again led the way with his 8th hat trick and 14th multi-goal game of the season.

“Every day is a new game, and me as a striker and as captain, I gotta do what I gotta do to keep my team moving forward, and that’s what I did today” Sanchez said. “I know what I’m doing, I know what path I’m going on, and I’m just out here doing my thing.”

Denair head coach Antonio Padilla described the energy that his captain brings on a daily basis as infectious.

“Angel is a real special player and everybody feeds off the energy, the passion. He is someone who brins 200% to the table from the first minute to the very last one, and that’s what we saw once again,” Padilla said. “He is a true leader and a model for his teammates.”

With his latest showing, Sanchez now has 44 goals on the season, averaging just over 2 goals per game. Fellow captain Diego Padilla also scored a goal for the Coyotes while the fifth goal came courtesy of a Rams defender accidentally knocking in an own-goal.

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Denair’s Diego Padilla celebrates his score against Rio Vista with his teammate Tim Hernandez during the Division 6 Semi Final game Thursday evening in Denair. The Coyotes 5-0 shutout will advance them to the Division 6 Section Championship Saturday in Sacramento (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

With the win, the No. 1 seed Coyotes now have their sights set on No. 2 Esparto High Spartans, who earned their way to the championship game through penalty kicks in a 1-1 draw with No. 3 seed Summerville.

Though the Coyotes have been dominating their opponents as of late, Sanchez wants his team to stay focused, admitting that there are still things they need to fix.

“We definitely need to focus a bit more on communication because I’ve seen some lack of it in our time, and there’s always room for improvement,” he said. “We just need to keep our heads up and go out there and get it.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Padilla, who explained that they are not the most familiar with their next opponent.

“To be honest, we don’t know much about them, and there isn’t much about them that we can find,” he said. “It feels good to be able to play for the championship for a second straight year, and I know the boys are excited. We just need to play our game. Although we don’t know much about them, we’re two teams trying to get the same thing, and we need to handle our business instead of worrying about them.”

The Coyotes and Spartans will settle the Division VI championship on Saturday at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. The match is scheduled to get underway at 12 p.m.