The Uvalde Coyotes treated a large Uvalde youth football night crowd to a 36-21 district football victory over the San Antonio Harlandale Indians Friday in the Honey Bowl.
“It was great to get our first district win before a large home crowd, especially the youth football players and their coaches. Youth football night is always a special night for our players and for the young kids!” said Uvalde High School head football coach R.T. Gonzales.
“The Indians played us extremely tough. Credit goes to Coach Torres and his staff for preparing the Indians. They played physical football and gave us a lot of different looks defensively,” said Gonzales. “Our kids responded well. I was especially happy with the way we came back in the second half and closed out the game in the fourth quarter.”
The Coyotes built a 23-14 lead in the first half and outscored the Indians, 13-7, in the second half on the way to their first district win.
After stopping Harlandale’s first possession of the game near midfield, the Coyotes began with the football at their 10-yard line after a punt.
On a third-down play, quarterback Michael Mata completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Donovan Amaya.
One play later, Mata linked up with Amaya on a 12-yard pass play.
On the next play, Mata connected with wide receiver D’Andre Carroll for a 65-yard touchdown pass.
Keith Pendleton Jr. made the extra-point kick and the Coyotes took a 7-0 lead with 8:03 left in the first period.
Three plays and a punt later, the Coyotes began with the ball at the Harlandale 42-yard line.
From that point, UHS put together a seven-play drive that ended on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Michael Mata to wide receiver Mitchell Henderson.
On the conversion, the Coyotes lined up in the swinging gate formation.
Domingo Davila took the snap from center and quickly flipped the ball to running back Sotero Martinez who scored to up the Uvalde lead to 15-0 with 4:07 remaining in the period.
Down by two touchdowns, the Indians began their first sustained offensive drive.
They put together a 12-play, 52-yard drive that was topped off by running back Robert Acuña’s three-touchdown run.
Francisco Loredo kicked the extra point.
Harlandale’s drive was extended by a pass interference call in the end on a third-down pass.
Early in the second period, the Coyotes pinned the Indians deep in their end of the field on a 55-yard punt by Michael Mata.
The Indians began with the ball at their 12, but they were penalized on first down for holding and moved back to their six-yard line.
Seven plays later, defensive back Domingo Davila picked off a pass at the Harlandale 42-yard line and returned the interception 17 yards to the Harlandale 25.
On the next play, Michael Mata completed a short-pass to Mitchell Henderson, who gave a stiff arm to the body of a would-be defender at the 12-yard line to elude a tackle. He then ran to the end zone for a touchdown.
Sotero Martinez scored on the two-point conversion as the Coyotes increased their scoring lead to 23-7 with 5:51 left in the second period.
Starting out at their 40-yard line, the Indians put together a time-consuming, 11-play drive that ended on a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Steven Benitez.
Francisco Loredo added the extra point to cut the deficit to 23-14 at halftime.
The Coyotes had the ball first in the second half, but their drive stalled and they punted.
Harlandale was unable to sustain their first drive of the second half and they punted on fourth down.
The Coyotes fumbled the ball to the Indians on the punt return to give Harlandale the ball at the Uvalde 30-yard line.
But the Indians were unable to capitalize on the turnover as the Coyotes held them on downs.
Starting at their 22-yard line, the Coyotes advanced the ball all the way to the Harlandale 10, but lost the ball on downs.
Late in the third period, the Coyotes took control of the ball at their 21-yard line following a punt. In five plays, the Coyotes moved the ball to near midfield.
On a first down play, Michael Mata and D’Andre Carroll combined for a 53-yard touchdown pass.
Uvalde’s two-point run failed, but the Coyotes took a comfortable 29-14 lead with 10:38 remaining in the fourth period.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Indians returned the ball to near midfield and the Coyotes were flagged for a personal foul penalty.
The Indians began with the ball at the Uvalde 35.
On a fourth-and-six play from the Uvalde 31, Harlandale’s pass went incomplete.
Starting at that point, the Coyotes moved the ball to the midfield area.
On a third-down play from the Harlandale 44, Michael Mata tossed a pass over the middle to D’Andre Carroll, who pulled away from a defender near the 12-yard line and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.
Keith Pendleton Jr. added the extra-point kick and the Coyotes took a commanding 36-14 lead with 6:54 left.
Harlandale scored on a 14-yard run by running back Dylon Fernandez.
The Indians attempted an onside kick, but Sotero Martinez grabbed the ball and ran to Harlandale’s 45.
With 4:42 left, the Coyotes went into their clock-management mode as they ran th ball, made two first downs and used up the remainder of time on the clock.
“Fundamenally, we did better tonight tackling on defense and catching the ball on offense,” said Coach Gonzales. “We had some guys step up for some of our injured players and we were able to get some guys some experience that will be beneficial to us down the road.”
The Coyotes, who now are 1-1 in district play and 4-3 for the season, will go on the road to play the defending district champion Floresville Tigers next Friday.
The Coyotes finished with a 23-19 edge in first downs and a 411-233 advantage in total yards.
Michael Mata completed 17 passes for 366 yards and five touchdowns.
Domingo Davila rushed nine times for 41 yards and he intercepted a pass.
D’Andre Carroll caught three passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns, while Mitchell Henderson had three catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns.