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Centennial Coyotes Are Dominating With Defense

Trust, communication and effective leadership. Those are three elements that help make up a successful team.

The Centennial (AZ) Coyotes have effective leadership. Head Coach Richard Taylor has been with the program for nearly 30 years and has led the Coyotes to seven State Titles.

With a coaching staff that has seen little turnover, trust is not an issue, but earlier this season, lack of communication on the defensive side of the ball, made it tough for the Coyotes to reach their full potential as a team.

In their second game of the season, Centennial gave up 71 points to No. 1 Mater Dei.

Since then however, the Coyotes have only allowed 28 points and their last two games against Apollo and Sunnyslope were shut out wins.

So what was the key to righting the ship after that tough loss to the Monarchs? Improving the communication.

“We were deaf mutes out there against Mater Dei,” Centennial head coach Richard Taylor said. “Everybody was so concerned about ‘I’ve got to do my job’ so they weren’t talking to each other at all.”

The frustration built up and the blame game was played amongst the players, senior defensive tackle Andy Belmontez said.

“We wouldn’t talk to each other, we’d get mad at each other,” Belmontez said. “Now, with our coaches’ help, we’re more supportive towards each other. If someone messes up, we tell them what they did wrong and how they could fix it.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Taylor has seen the most improvement out of Belmontez. An injury sidelined him his sophomore year, he readjusted to Varsity as a junior and now, as a senior, is getting better every week.

“You can see technically that he’s improved every week on staying lower, using his hands, (and) identifying the play quickly,” Taylor said. “The same holds true for most of these guys playing defense now.”

The Coyotes have seven new players on defense that have had to adjust to their positions, three of which are in the linebacking corps. After the Mater Dei loss the linebackers honed in on any misunderstanding and fixed what was needed.

“We went back a couple steps and just made sure we understood everything completely,” senior outside linebacker Seth Lane said. “We made sure we understood all the coverages and made sure we knew what we had to get done and progressed off that.”

The Coyotes have been taught not to take any opponent for granted. Every Friday night, they take the field and play Centennial football the way they know how, giving 110% every down.

“We’re all trying harder,” Belmontez said. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing. It’s not about them. It’s about us.”

You can catch the action LIVE on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at 7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET on Cox (Ch. 1004 PHX, Ch. 1007 Tucson) or at yurview.com/live.