In Jeff Lynn’s sixth season at the helm of the Roswell Coyotes, the pieces all came together. Maybe, one might call it destiny or fate. Whatever it is, Lynn got his team to bounce back from a terrible defeat at home against Hobbs. Lynn’s team put their hard hat on and went back to work. With that, the Coyotes played inspired football even in a late-season loss to Artesia, which worked out for their good.
Lynn would gamble on the last two plays of the game against Artesia. Instead of taking a knee at their own 35-yard line, Lynn told senior quarterback Ethan Valenzuela to throw a 50-50 ball to Dylan Tucker down the left sideline with 14 seconds left to play in the game. On the next play, Valenzuela again found Tucker at Artesia’s 10-yard line. Tucker made a move and made a defender miss and ran into the end zone as time expired to give Lynn his first victory over Artesia and send them to the championship game.
After that, the rest was easy: It was a coronation of their season in a game-long celebration of a title they had been seeking since the 2000 season. The state champs placed eight players on the all-state team.
With the run first Coyotes, everything started with their line: Senior Oscar Becker had 27 knockdowns and 10 pancakes.
“Maybe the most consistent offensive linemen we have had at RHS,” Coyotes football coach Jeff Lynn said.
Junior Joshua Castillo led the team with pancake blocks.
“He plays with a mean streak that we as coaches love,” Lynn said.
In the backfield, junior Jasia “Sweet Feet” Reese made it. Reese’s value was on catching passes as he averaged 20.2 yards a catch, and eight receiving TDs. He was special on Special Teams and took it to the house with six returns.
“The most electrifying player in the state,” Lynn said. “Every time he touches the ball, there is a chance it goes to the house.”
Player of the Year Candidate Justin Carrasco rushed for 1,580 yards with a 6.6 yards per carry. He also scored 15 TDs.
“Justin is fast, tough,” Lynn said. “To be honest with you, I don’t think there is a better back in the state. He played all season with a torn labrum.”
On defense, the Coyotes were outweighed, but not out-hustled. First-year starter Xavier Hernandez finished with 12 sacks on the season.
“He never quit on a play,” Lynn said. “He played the game with high energy.”
Cade Manazares led the defense as a senior. Manzanares led the team in tackles.
“The All-American kid who was the unquestioned leader of our team,” Lynn said. “He is a great kid who treats everyone as a friend.”
Junior Isaac Hurst was third in sacks and tackles for loss.
“He was the most consistent defensive player we had this year,” Lynn said. “Issac didn’t have a bad game.”
Senior Ethan Valenzuela bounced back from an injury that cost him most of his junior campaign. Valenzuela came back to make it as a second team all-state quarterback. He threw for 1,500 yards and had a completion of 67 percent with 21 TDs and seven interceptions.
“Quiet, fiery competitor that overcame more than any high school player I ever coached,” Lynn said.
With the talent coming back for Roswell, it should set up to be an interesting season in 2019.