Nate Woods sure picked a good time for his first "picks" of the year.
Woods, a senior cornerback for Skyline, intercepted two passes in the final four minutes to secure a 24-21 victory over Corona del Sol on Thursday night.
The Coyotes improved to 3-0 with the win, while the hard-luck Aztecs fell to 0-3 on the season.
Skyline’s defense was the reason it won Thursday. In addition to the big interceptions Woods made in the fourth quarter, the Coyotes executed a goal-line stand late in the third quarter when they stopped the Aztecs inside the 1-yard line on fourth down.
The Coyotes were outgained 355-272 in total yardage, but turnovers were the difference. Skyline picked off Corona del Sol quarterback RJ Rhiner three times.
Skyline coach Angelo Pauffumi described his team’s play as “sloppy” but said he’ll take the win. He said the two interceptions by Woods in the fourth quarter "were big plays."
The biggest weapon on offense for the Coyotes was junior receiver Truman Tucker, who Pauffumi said wasn’t much of a factor in the first two games of the season. Tucker finished with eight catches (all his team’s receptions) for 170 yards and three scores.
Skyline quarterback Michael Amado was 8 of 16 for 170 yards with those three touchdowns and an interception.
The Aztecs entered the fourth quarter with a 21-17 lead, and senior defensive back George Wright intercepted Amado with 6:08 remaining in the game, which gave Corona del Sol the ball at its own 43-yard line.
But later in that drive, Woods picked off Rhiner for the first time with 3:18 left. His second pick, which came with just 43 seconds remaining, iced the game.
Corona del Sol coach Tom Joseph said his team needs to eliminate mental mistakes and stop turning the ball over if the Aztecs are going to turn their season around.
“We played really good defense; that was the best part,” he said.
Joseph also credited his team with good run blocking, which was evident with the Coyotes picking up 257 total rushing yards. Wright led the team with 11 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite a 3-0 start, Pauffumi said his players need to start believing they can win. He said many of them still don’t have the belief that they can beat good teams, but added he hopes this win can be a turning point for his players' confidence.
Skyline 24, Corona del Sol 21
Rushing: Skyline 27-102, Corona 46-257
Passing (Comp.-Att.-Yds.-TD-INT): Skyline 8-16-170-3-1, Corona 8-17-98-1-3
Fumbles-lost: Skyline 0-0, Corona 3-1
Penalties-yards: Skyline 6-30, Corona 2-25
Skyline 3 14 0 7 – 24
Corona 0 14 7 0 – 21
Skyline: Ruiz 44 FG
Skyline: Tucker 7 pass from Amado (kick failed)
Corona: Wright 10 run (Baker kick)
Skyline: Tucker 14 pass from Amado (Tucker pass from Amado)
Corona: Fishburn 9 pass from Rhiner (Baker kick)
Corona: Wright 4 run (Baker kick)
Skyline: Tucker 7 pass from Amado (Ruiz kick)