The Denair High football team’s dream season finished with the perfect ending Saturday night: A dominating win.
The Coyotes defeated visiting Santee of Los Angeles 42-14 in the CIF state Division 7-AA championship game to cap a season few — other than the Coyotes, of course — thought possible.
The victory came a week after Denair won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII title, 43-21 victory over Golden Sierra.
“We’ve talked about it before with other coaches, winning the section title is huge but if you go lose the state title it kind of takes away from the section title,” Denair coach Anthony Armas said. “I was really hoping we could end on a win, and get these kids out on a high note because they deserved it.”
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The Coyotes (12-1) couldn’t have ended the season a higher note.
Denair dominated in all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — and the outcome never appeared in doubt.
Stephin Winston rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, and Drew Pritchard ran for 123 yards and two TDs to lead Denair’s unstoppable rushing attack.
The Coyotes scored touchdowns on all but three possessions in the game, giving up one fumble and running out the clock at the end of each half.
And Denair’s defense was just as dominant, limiting Santee to just two touchdowns.
Santee running back Joseph Todd, who came in leading the nation in rushing yards, was bottled up for much of the game.
Todd rushed for 251 yards on 30 carries, but he got 163 of those yards on three long gains (68 for a TD, 47 and 48).
Elvis Silva got the game started off right for Denair, intercepting a Santee pass on the opening possession and returning the ball into Falcons territory.
Denair’s offensive line opened big holes for the Coyote rushing game, which gained 315 yards despite missing standout Hunter Musgrave, who sat out with a neck injury.
“We executed on everything we did,” Winston said. “Our linemen made some holes and we hit them nice and hard so we could get the yards we got.”
The celebration after the victory was fairly subdued for the Coyotes, with the team giving hugs to the seniors who will be leaving the program.
Afterward, Armas tried to put the win — and the remarkable season — into perspective.
“Excited, really happy for the kids,” he said. “I’m just glad (us coaches) got out of there way and let them do what they do, because they’re state champs and they proved it tonight.
“Absolute ... just joy, and great for the community.”