Central Valley Coyotes game notes
QUICK FACTS: Game: Rio Grande Valley Dorados at Central Valley Coyotes Date: Saturday, May 14, 2005 Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) Site: Fresno, Calif. Arena: Selland Arena (8,911) Radio: ESPN Radio 1430 AM (Antoine Ibrahim, Marcas Grant) Series Record: Coyotes lead 1-0 Last Meeting: Central Valley 42, Rio Grande Valley 25 May 15, 2004, Selland Arena Officials: Steve Strimling (R), Torrance Crable (U), Steve Hoslett (HL), Mike Cuttone (LJ), Ken Sarna (BJ) Head Coaches: Central Valley Fred Bilietnikoff Jr. (second season, 6-6) Rio Grande Valley Kevin Guy (fourth season, 41-12)
2005 COYOTES: Although Central Valley struggled last season to a 3-13 record, they have surpassed their 2004 win total (4) in just five games. Coyote head coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr., who took over as head coach last mid-season, hopes his new-look squad can maintain first place in the West Division by defeating division-rival Rio Grande Valley. QB Juston Wood seems to be finding his rhythm as he has thrown 19 touchdowns and rushed in two in his last three games. He broke the franchise record for passing yards in a game with 396 against Tulsa last week. Additional returnees include WR/LB Marvin Brown and WR/DB Wes Borba. The team has found instant offense with the acquisition WR/LB George Williams, as he has recorded nine TDs in his last three games and leads the team in receptions (23) and receiving yards (368). The team has gotten a boost defensively with the additions of DSs, Marvin Owens and Joshua Robinson, who is the teams leading tackler with 26. FB/LB Clint Merz is emerging as one the Coyotes best pass rusher as he has recorded 12 tackles in five games and blocked a couple of kicks. On the front line, fourth-year veteran Oscar Grajeda and third-year star Ahmad Bhatti have provided experience. WR/DB DeRonn Finley, is helping contribute to the offense with 23 catches for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a kick return for a score. FB/LB Vai Notoa, who was Hawaiis all- time leading rusher last season, leads the rushing attack with 58 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown.
THE SERIES: This is the second time-ever the two teams will play, but the first time they will meet as divisional foes as Rio Grande Valley joined the West Division just this season. The Coyotes took the lone contest last year, 42-25 at Selland Arena on May 15, 2004. It was the first victory of the season for the Coyotes who lost their first five games. The newly acquired division rival will meet the Coyotes again at Rio Grande Valley on June 18.
CENTRAL VALLEY COYOTES (4-1) Date Opponent Time(P) Radio April 2 @ Bakersfield Win 33-20 April 16 @ Oklahoma City Loss 48-41 April 23 Arkansas Win 71-41 April 30 Bakersfield Win 40-21 May 7 @ Tulsa Win 64-63 May 14 Rio G. Valley 7:30 1430 AM May 21 @ Amarillo 6:00 1430 AM May 28 @ San Diego 7:00 1430 AM June 4 Tulsa 7:30 1430 AM June 11 San Diego 7:30 1430 AM June 18 @ Rio G. Valley 6:30 1430 AM June 24 @ Bakersfield 7:00 1430 AM July 9 Bakersfield 7:30 1430 AM July 16 @ San Diego 7:00 1430 AM July 23 Memphis 7:30 1430 AM July 30 San Diego 7:30 1430 AM
RIO GRANDE VALLEY DORADOS (2-3) Date Opponent Time(P) Score April 9 Louisville Loss 56-42 April 16 @ Florida Loss 63-30 April 22 @ Bakersfield Win 40-32 May 2 Bossier-Shrev. Loss 77-69 May 7 San Diego Win 51-45 May 14 @ Central Valley 7:30 May 21 W.B./Scranton 5:30 May 28 @ S. Georgia 4:30 June 4 @ Oklahoma City 5:30 June 11 Tulsa 5:30 June 18 Central Valley 5:30 June 25 @ San Diego 7:00 July 9 @ Bossier-Shrev. 5:00 July 16 @ Tulsa 5:00 July 23 Oklahoma City 5:30 July30 Bakersfield 5:30
COYOTE HEAD COACH: Fred Biletnikoff Jr. enters his third season in the arenafootball2 league and second with the Coyotes. Biletnikoff Jr. joined the Coyotes coaching staff last season as assistant head coach before becoming interim-head coach midway through the season. After five games as interim-head coach, Biletnikoff Jr. earned the title of head coach, winning his final two games of the season. He was also a part of the Fresno Frenzy coaching staff in 2002.
THIS WEEKS QUOTES:
Coyote head coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. on last weeks 64-63 win against Tulsa: Our players and coaches just went out there and had a good time. We were really clicking on all cylinders and I was really proud at what they accomplished. To get our fourth win this early in the season means that we have a lot to look forward to.
Biletnikoff Jr. on the performance of QB Juston Wood: Juston is really starting to get comfortable in the offense and finding his receivers. I knew it would be a few weeks before he really started getting familiar with our guys and he couldnt of have had a better game than he did last week. If he continues to keep his mistakes down, he will keep leading us to victories.
Biletnikoff Jr. on the injury bug: The loss on Mike Duncan was huge last week and we are still waiting to get key two-way players back in Anthony Arceneaux and Ty Johnson. I am confident that our guys have been on the bench are going to step up in their place.
CENTRAL VALLEY COYOTES 2004 Results (3-13) Date Opponent Result Score Mar. 27 Hawaii Loss 68-35 April 10 Bakersfield Loss 65-48 April 23 @ San Diego Loss 59-34 May 1 Peoria Loss 34-33 May 8 @ Green Bay Loss 50-32 May 15 Rio G. Valley Win 42-25 May 23 @ Hawaii Loss 54-48 May 29 Bakersfield Loss 41-25 June 5 San Diego Loss 45-24 June 13 @ Hawaii* Loss 70-42 June 19 @ Bakersfield Loss 33-26 July 3 @ Oklahoma City Loss 69-35 July 10 San Diego Loss 63-49 July 17 @ Bakersfield Loss 45-19 July 24 Hawaii Win 64-63 July 30 @ San Diego Win 48-34 *Fred Biletnikoff Jr. took over as head coach
NEXT GAME: The Coyotes will travel to Texas to take on the expansion Amarillo Dusters at Amarillo Civic Center Arena on May 21. That game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (Pacific) and can be heard on ESPN Radio 1430 AM.
OLD STOMPING GROUNDS : The original Bakersfield Blitz franchise was purchased by current Coyotes Operator, the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, in 2004. The tribe then decided to relocate the franchise to Fresno, naming the team the Central Valley Coyotes.
THE IF SECTION If the Coyotes defeat Rio Grande Valley it would: - give them their fourth-straight overall victory - be their seventh win in their last eight games - give them a 4-0 divisional record - be their sixth-consecutive win against a divisional foe - give them their fourth-straight victory - be their fourth-consecutive win at home
Coyote HistorySeason (head coach) Record 2002 Bakersfield (James Fuller) 9-7 (playoffs 0-1) 2003 Bakersfield (James Fuller) 8-7-1(playoffs 0-1) 2004 Central Valley(Cree Morris - Biletnikoff Jr.) 3-13 2005 C. Valley (Biletnikoff Jr.) 4-1
WEST HEADS EAST: With the departure of the Hawaiian Islanders, the Coyotes Western division took new shape. While Bakersfield, Central Valley and San Diego remain, the realigned division now features the Rio Grande Valley Dorados and the Tulsa Talons.
SLOW STARTERS: The Coyotes held the lead at halftime just twice last season, winning both games (vs. Rio Grande Valley 21-12 on May 15, 2004 and vs. San Diego 27-6 on July 30, 2004). The Coyotes were 1-13 when trailing at halftime in 2004. This season the Coyotes are 3-0 when leading at the break and 1-1 when trailing.
NOT SO SWEET HOME: Selland Arena has been particularly kind to visiting teams. Since the arenas first indoor football game, (Los Angeles Avengers vs. Houston ThunderBears on June 9, 2001) the home team holds a 8-11 record.
Selland Arena Home team Home record 2001 Houston ThunderBears 0-1 2003 Fresno Frenzy 4-4 2004 Central Valley Coyotes 2-6 2005 Central Valley Coyotes 2-0
RED-N-BLACK ZONE: The Coyotes rank first in the league in redzone scoring percentage as they have put up points on 15 of their 16 trips inside the 10-yard line. 11 of those scores have been touchdowns.
Team Success Rate (%) 1. Central Valley Coyotes 15-of-16 93.8 2. Tulsa Talons 19-of-22 86.4 3. Amarillo Dusters 27-of-32 84.4 4. S. Georgia Wildcats 21-of-25 84.0
FRESNO CONNECTIONS: The Coyotes have several players with local connections including three Fresno State Bulldogs: OL/DL Ahmad Bhatti, and FB/LB JaJuan Huddleston. Coyote WR/DB LaMonte Jones, was a wide receiver at Fresno City College, where Coyote head coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. is an offensive coordinator during the offseason.
COYOTE PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Juston Wood: In just five games, Wood has already thrown for 1,221 yards and 25 touchdowns to just two interceptions. His 396 passing yards last week against Tulsa was the seventh-most in af2 league history. That performance helped the second-year star earn Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. The quarterback is also second on the team in rushing yards with 33 yards, including three scores on the grounc. Wood joined the Coyotes late last season after being acquired from the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. In five games with Central Valley, he completed 60-of-105 passes for 651 yards and 15 touchdowns, including a seven-touchdown performance on July 10, 2004 against San Diego. Expect another big performance out of Wood who has just started to find his groove in the Coyote offense.
WR/LB Marvin Brown: Brown broke back into the Coyote lineup last week in Tulsa. He made his presence felt with a great 29-yard touchdown grab to keep Central Valley in a close game late in the third quarter. This season, Brown has seen little time on defense, but could be seeing more action at linebacker. So far this season, Brown has 10 receptions for 139 yards and three touchdowns. Last year he caught 29 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns in the eight games before suffering a season-ending arm injury. He also added 20 tackles and a sack on defense. With WR/DB Michael Duncan out of the lineup, look for Brown to be a more instrumental part of a Coyote offense that flourished last week by scoring 64 points and racking in over 400 yards.
SCORING MACHINE: WR/DB LaMonte Jones has scored a touchdown in 14 of his 19 games as a Coyote. Jones has one touchdown on the season.
RECENT ROSTER MOVES: Date Action Player 5/4 Activated OL/DL Dwayne Tauiliili 4/21 Short-term IR OL/DL Dwayne Tauiliili 4/21 Activated OL/DL Joel Tautuaa 4/6 Activated WR/DB LaMonte JonesWR/LB George Williams 4/6 Released WR/LB Latario Rachal 4/6 Injured Reserved OL/DL Joel Tautuaa 3/28 Released WR/DB Harbert BriscoeWR/DB BJay JonesFB/LB Jabari JacksonOL/DL Dewayne JohnsonFB/LB Kevin Thomas 3/25 Assigned OL/DL Ahmad BhattiK John GockmanOL/DL Micha Jackson-Sattler 3/25 Released WR/DB Lee FinnieOL/DL Ben Unutoa 3/24 Assigned FB/LB Jabari Jackson 3/24 Traded OL/DL Eric Everley 3/24 Released QB Orlando EvansOL/DL Antwan HarrisDS Daniel Jones 3/22 Assigned QB Chad Munson 3/21 Left Squad WR/DB Terrell Colbert
LAST GAME: COYOTES WIN SHOOTOUT, 64-63 Tulsa (May 7) - The Central Valley Coyotes (4-1) scored on all but two offensive possessions on a record-setting night to beat the Tulsa Talons (3-2), 64-63 before a crowd of 5,027 at the Tulsa Convention Center.
The offensive shootout ended when Talon kicker Nick Brownes 40-yard field goal sailed right as time expired to seal the Coyote victory.
Quarterback Juston Wood connected on 28-of-43 passes for a career-high 396 yards and a franchise-record nine touchdowns to give Central their fourth win of the year and sole-possession of first place in the West Division.
We told our team before the game that this would be a night that as coaches we were going to sit back and enjoy watching them play ball, head coach Fred Biletnikoff Jr. said. Words cannot say how much fun our coaching staff had watching our players get us our fourth win.
The 396 yards passing was the most in franchise history and the seventh-most in af2 league history.
We stuck together the entire game, Wood said. I feel like we are starting to gel. This was a great win for us.
Woods favorite target was offensive specialist George Williams, who tied a franchise record with 14 receptions and broke the franchise record for receiving yards in a game with 210. Williams scored four touchdowns in the scoring onslaught.
The first half opened with an early indication of a high-scoring affair as Tulsa offensive specialist Donovan Morgan caught the first of his six touchdowns on the first play from scrimmage.
His next one was a two-yard grab on fourth-and-goal that put the Talons up 13-7 after a missed extra point.
We knew going in he was their go-to-guy, Biletnikoff Jr. said. He really showed why he is one of the best players in the league.
The two teams continued to trade touchdowns during the first half until Gockmans 50-yard field attempt at the buzzer went wide right to keep the Coyote deficit at six, 33-28.
Tulsa opened the second half with their second consecutive stop and followed it with a 45-yard Nick Browne field goal that gave the Talons a 36-28 lead. It would be the last time the Talons defense was able to be successful as Coyotes would score five consecutive touchdowns on their final five possessions.
On the last play of the third quarter the Coyotes lost WR/DB Michael Duncan, who earned Ironman of the Game honors after an apparent shoulder injury. After a ten minute delay due to Duncans injury, Wood connected on a 30-yard touchdown pass to Williams less than a minute into the final quarter to bring the Coyotes to within two, at 43-41. The Coyotes faked the snap to holder Chad Munson, directing it to defensive specialist Josh Robinson who rushed it in for the two-point conversion to tie it at 43.
It was a play that we worked on during the week, Biletnikoff Jr. said. We didnt know if we were going to be in position to use it, but it was the perfect opportunity.
The teams would trade scores again after Tulsa QB Joshua Blankenship connected with Morgan for a 39-yard score while Wood answered with a 15-yarder to Williams to tie the game at 50.
It was like the Morgan vs. Williams show for a while there, Biletnikoff Jr. said. It was really great to watch two athletes rise to the occasion.
Blankenship found Morgan again to give the Talons a six-point lead. Tulsa held a 56-50 lead as they were unable to convert the point after.
After the two teams traded touchdowns again, the Coyotes took control of the seesaw battle, 64-63, when John Gockman hit an extra point after a 33-yard DeRonn Finley touchdown catch with 17 seconds left in the game.
The Talons would get the ball back to attempt a 40-yard field goal after a roughing the passer penalty on Coyote lineman Micah Jackson-Sattler with five seconds to go.
Central Valley returns to home next week to take on the Rio Grande Valley Dorados on Saturday, May 14 at Selland Arena.
CENTRAL VALLEY (4-1) 7 21 7 29 -- 64 TULSA (3-2) 13 20 10 20 -- 63
THE COYOTES ARE · 2-0 at Selland Arena · 2-1 on the road · 2-0 when they score more than 50 points · 2-0 when they score 60 or more points · 3-1 when they allow less than 60 points · 3-1 when they allow less than 50 points · 2-0 when they allow less than 40 points · 0-1 when they score first · 3-1 when they commit fewer turnovers · 0-0 when they commit more turnovers · 2-0 when a player scores three or more touchdowns · 0-0 when they score two or more TDs on the ground · 2-0 when Juston Wood throws five or more TDs · 3-0 when George Williams scores two or more TDs · 1-0 when G. Williams catches six or more passes · 1-0 when DeRonn Finley catches six or more passes · 1-0 when Marvin Brown catches six or more passes · 1-0 when Via Notoa scores two or more TDs · 1-1 when they commit fewer penalties · 3-1 when they record at least one sack · 0-0 when they go scoreless for at least one quarter · 2-0 when they pitch a shutout in a quarter · 0-1 when the game is decided by 7 or fewer points · 3-0 when leading at halftime · 1-1 when trailing at halftime
PREVIOUS MEETING WITH RIO GRANDE VALLEY:
ROOKIE QB HELPS COYOTES FIND FIRST WIN, 42-31
FRESNO (May 15, 2004) -- Having only completed 12-of-22 passes in three appearances this season, rookie quarterback and former Fresno City College standout Kyle Biggs, helped guide the Coyotes to their first victory of the season with a 42-31 win over the Rio Grande Valley Dorados in front of 3,658 fans at Selland Arena.
In his first career start Biggs completed 17-of-30 passes for 255 yards and 6 touchdowns passes with no interceptions.
I felt like I had nothing to lose out their tonight, said Biggs. I just went out their and acted like a little kid and played catch with my receivers tonight. This win was for the whole [Tachi-Yokut] tribe. Theyve stuck behind us through the whole thick and thin, and the win tonight was all for them.
Biggs completed 5-of-6 passes on the opening drive to setup the opening score for the Coyotes. He found fullback/linebacker Marshall Blount wide open on the right sideline for a 17-yard TD. The Coyotes and Biggs would never look back from then on.
Central Valleys defense stepped up their game tonight forcing two interceptions, three sacks and one forced fumble.
The Coyotes defense forced a four-and-out and the Dorados opening possession when ADT Defensive Player of the Game Halakilangi Muagututia (10 tackles, 8-solo and 3 pass deflections) hit Rio Grande Valley wide receiver Jimel Cofer, causing him to drop the ball on 4th-and 2.
Im honored to receive the award, but Im happier that as a team we got a win, said Muagututia. If it wasnt for our defensive line and linebackers, then I wouldnt have been able to make the plays I did out here tonight, so the award should really go to our entire defense.
The Coyotes took over on downs at their own 24-yard line, but sputtered on their drive forcing kicker Justin Levine to attempt a 34-yard field goal. The field goal attempt missed left and the Dorados took over on possession.
Rio Grande Valley drove down to the Central Valley 4-yard line as time expired in the 1st quarter, giving the Coyotes their first shutout quarter in the first half on the year.
Dorados quarterback Will Burch (10-of-18 for 100-yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions) found receiver Donte Wells in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to get Rio Grande Valley on the board. The Dorados missed the PAT and the score stood at 7-6 in favor of the Coyotes.
The Coyotes offense began their next drive at their in 18-yard line. Biggs hooked up with receiver LaMonte Jones (3 receptions for 53 yards and 2 TDs) on a 27 yard pass which brought Central Valley down to the Dorados 5-yard line. The Coyotes offense had the door shut on them, as defensive pressure and two incomplete passes forced a turnover on possession.
Central Valley answered right back on defense as defensive end Ricky Leung-Wai tackled quarterback Will Burch on the second play of the drive, for the first of his three sacks on the night. The following play defensive specialist VonKeith Spencer picked off Burch at the Dorados 23 yard line, giving Spencer his 5th consecutive interception in five games.
I didnt think he was going to make the throw, said Spencer. As the defensive line got pressure and he rolled out, he actually got hit as he was throwing it, so the pass was short and I was able to come up and make the interception. I dont know what the defensive line ate before the game tonight, but they better keep eating it before every game.
It only took the Coyotes offense two plays to find the end zone as Biggs hooked up with offensive specialist Kenyatte Morgan (8 receptions for 132 yards) on a seven yard pass for his first of four touchdowns.
I guess it was just my night tonight, Biggs delivered the ball and I went up their and tried to make some plays, said Morgan. I thought I needed to come out this game and make some plays and get the crowd and my teammates into the game to get us going. I took it upon myself, at least this week to get my teammates going and bring us closer together to help us get this win tonight. Im happy of the outcome and Im also ready to go to Hawaii next week.
Newly acquired wide receiver/defensive back Darnell Lacy intercepted a Burch pass on the third play of the Dorados next drive giving the offense the ball back on their own three yard line.
A couple of penalties and a sack would bring out kicker Justin Levine again to attempt a 65-yard field goal that hit the scoreboard and gave Rio Grande Valley the ball on their own 20-yardline.
With 39 seconds remaining in the half, Burch connected with Mike Duncan on a seven yard pass for a touchdown. The two-point conversion try would fail, and the score was 14-12.
Central Valleys offense scored again on a 28-yard, 4-play drive that was capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Biggs to Morgan.
The defense would hold the Dorados offense to end the half with the score at 21-12.
Rio Grande Valley received the ball to open the second half, starting their drive at their own five yard line. Backup quarterback Abel Gonzalez replaced Will Burch, completing 4-of-5 passes on his opening drive taking the Dorados down to the Central Valley three. Another Leung-Wai sack would force Rio Grande Valley kicker Eric Houle to attempt a 24-yard field goal which missed right.
The Coyotes would score again in the third quarter on a tipped pass by a Dorados defender which fell into the hands of LaMonte Jones for a touchdown.
The Coyotes would end the third quarter with a 35-12 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Rio Grande Valley scored two unanswered touchdowns to cut the lead to 17 points. Kyle Biggs stepped up finding Kenyatte Morgan in the end zone on a 29-yard pass.
The Dorados would find the end zone one more time on the night, but time was not on Rio Grande Valleys side, as an onside kick attempt was recovered by the Coyotes to seal the victory, 42-31.
It was just great for the kids to get that taste of victory, said Head Coach Cree Morris. The kids really had a good week of practice and we had guys step up all game tonight. The defense played an outstanding game, defensive coordinator Doug Murray called a great game tonight and he deserves a lot of credit for the win.
RIO G. VALLEY (3-3) 0 12 0 19 -- 31 CENTRAL VALLEY (1-5) 7 14 14 7 -- 62
THIS WEEK IN AF2 (all times Pacific):
Friday, May 13, 2005 Tulsa at Bakersfield 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 14, 2005 Manchester at Albany 4:30 p.m. Arkansas at South Georgia 4:30 p.m. Florida at Bossier-Shreveport 5:00 p.m. Louisville at Green Bay 5:00 p.m. Amarillo at Memphis 5:00 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at Quad City 5:30 p.m. Birmingham at San Diego 7:00 p.m.
Bye: Macon, Oklahoma City
U.S. ARMY IRONMAN OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the two-way player who best demonstrated the ideals of the AFLs style of ironman football.
Week Opp. Ironman of the Game 1 @ Bakersfield FB/LB Vai Notoa (C.V.)2 tackles, one sack, 2TDs 3 @ Oklahoma City FB/LB Al Hunt (OKC)5 receptions, 45 yds, 4.5 tack. 4 Arkansas WR/DB Anthony Arceneaux (C.V.)5 receptions, 38 yds, 3TDs, 1 INT 5 Bakersfield WR/DB DeRonn Finley (C.V.)6 receptions, 83 yds, 2TDs, 1 tackle 6 @ Tulsa WR/DB Michael Duncan (C.V.)3 receptions, 29 yds, 1TD, 3 tackles
ADT DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the player who was the most valuable to his teams defensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Defensive Player of the Game 1 @ Bakersfield DS Marvin Owens (C.V)3.5 tackles, 1 interception 3 @ Oklahoma City FB/LB Clint Merz (C.V.)4 tackles, one TD recovery 4 Arkansas DS Joshua Robinson (C.V.)5 tackles, 43 yd INT return for TD 5 Bakersfield DS Joshua Robinson (C.V.)4 tackles, 4 pass-breakups 6 @ Tulsa DS Nick Davis (TUL)7 tackles, 1 pass-breakup
BABY RUTH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Voted on by the media, the award goes to the player who was the most valuable to his teams offensive success in the game, win or lose.
Week Opp. Offensive Player of the Game 1 @ Bakersfield QB Juston Wood (C.V.)19-of-46 164 yards, 2TDs 3 @ Oklahoma City WR/LB Brandon Daniels(OKC)6 catches, 120 yards, 3TDs 4 Arkansas WR/LB George Williams (C.V.)5 catches, 105 yards, 3TDs 5 Bakersfield QB Juston Wood (C.V.)17-of-34, 185 yards, 4TDs, rush TD 6 @ Tulsa QB Josh Blankenship (TUL)28-of-42, 327 yards, 8TDs
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