Coyotes Score First Win Of The Season, End Touchdown Drought In 35-0 Win Over Merritt Island

Demitri Stathakis, sports editor

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The Coyotes celebrated in pure bliss as everything they had worked so hard for was finally accomplished, and they stood victorious on an opposing squads’ field. After a slow 0-4 start to the season, the Coyotes finally found their footing, putting up 35 points in an away game against Merritt Island on September 21, 2018. 

The game started heavily defensive, being only 6-0 in favor of the Coyotes at the start of the second half, thanks to a touchdown by junior Tashaun Cook. Things quickly began to click on offense late in the third quarter, as the team took a page out of the Philadelphia Eagles’ playbook, and ran the famous “Philly Special”, one of the key offensive scores in Super Bowl 52. Senior CJ Mueller caught the reverse pass, and read the defense perfectly, connecting with junior Javier Martinez for a 40-yard touchdown, increasing the score to 12-0 in favor of Four Corners. 

“No person did it by themselves,” said Mueller. “The stats may show that a specific person may have scored a touchdown, but if there wasn’t blocking from the line, or skill positions playing out fakes, we would’ve gotten nowhere.” 

On the following drive, the Merritt Island offense fumbled on a bad snap, and the ball was quickly recovered by the hungry Coyotes defense. The offensive unit wasted no time driving down the field, as they found themselves on the 13-yard line after a 21-yard bomb to junior Joshua McDowell over two defenders. The offense didn’t stop there, and handed the ball off to Tashaun Cook, who rushed 13 yards, racking up his second touchdown of the night. Following the play, the coaching staff decided to try for the 2-point conversion rather than the extra point, which was successful off a run from Javier Martinez.  

“The defense played hard, and motivated the offense to play harder,” reveals junior Tashaun Cook. “Good defense is always rewarded with great offense.” 

The defense once again got the offense in great field position, taking over at the 50-yard line. Quarterback Javier Martinez got the ball to the 20-yard line on a huge scramble, and the offense entered their red zone plays, subbing in senior Essio Alexander to the quarterback position. He took a direct snap, and scrambled 20 yards to put up yet another rushing touchdown on the night for the offensive dominant Coyotes, who now had complete control in the game. Following in the footsteps of their previous drive, the offense stayed on the field for another 2-point attempt. The play was once again successful, and put the coyotes ahead 28-0 midway through the fourth quarter. 

“We knew coming in that we were going to have obvious mismatches,” states senior Essio Alexander. “We came up with a play that would expose those mismatches that were in our advantage, and practiced them with heavy repetition”.

The defense remained on the field for 6 minutes on the following drive, as they held a marching Merritt Island offense to 0 points, which played a key factor in the shutout victory. With only 3 minutes remaining in the game, the offense took the field for one last drive and were determined to score once again. Essio Alexander was back in at quarterback, and hit his target Joshua McDowell for his second catch in the game. McDowell caught the pass and took it 35 yards for the final touchdown of the game.  

“For my individual success, all I had to do was execute and do my assignment,” recounts McDowell. “My game plan rolled in with my will and heart, and wanting to score a touchdown. My want is why I had such a big success.” 

With losing in the rearview mirror, the Coyotes will look to capitalize off the momentum of this shutout victory, and score a big win as they return home to face rival West Oaks Academy, who beat them in the spring scrimmage the previous season. There is no doubt the team will come ready to play, and look to improve to 2-4, and implement a new winning culture not only for themselves, but for their school.