Central Valley Coyotes

Years of Existence: 2004-2009
Venue: Selland Arena (Fresno, CA)
2006 - Playoff appearance
2007 - Quarterfinal appearance
2008 - Quarterfinal appearance
2009 -
Lifetime Record: 48-53
Home: 23-26
Away: 25-27
Playoffs: 2-3
Average Attendance: 2,595

The Central Valley Coyotes, although largely unsuccessful, are a team with a lot of history in the af2. After the 2003 season, the original Bakersfield Blitz franchise became the Coyotes. The Coyotes play in what was once the home arena for the Fresno Frenzy. Unfortunately, the team has not increased arena football interest in the area; the team has only drawn three crowds over 4,000 and did not break the 3,000 attendance mark in 2005. In 2004, the team was a dismal 3-13. In 2005, the Coyotes missed the postseason in the final weeks of the regular season. The Coyotes made improvement, however, finishing at 8-8. Things finally went in the right direction in 2006, despite extremely low attendance. The Coyotes were probably the hottest team going into the postseason, riding a seven game winning streak. The only teams to beat the Coyotes were Quad City, Spokane, and Bakersfield. Central Valley earned the #3 seed in the playoffs and took on Bakersfield at home. The Blitz, however, got the upset victory, giving the Coyotes their first loss since June 3rd. In 2007, the Coyotes were again a decent squad. The team finished at 10-6 behind 1,000+ yard receiving performances by Jason Barnes and Tonae Martin. Out of the ten wins, only one was against a team that had made the playoffs. After starting quarterback Clay Groefsema went down, it was Brian Luke that led the team into the postseason. The Coyotes won a thriller in Manchester, 42-41. However, two trips to the East coast in two weeks was too much when they visited Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. After a close first half, the Pioneers pulled away and defeated the Coyotes 70-53. In 2008, the Coyotes returned with Clay Groefsema, Joe Ayoob, and Patrick Josten all splitting time at the quarterback position. The team lost four of their first seven, but rebounded to finish the year at 10-6. Four losses came by a combined seven points, including two heartbreaking two point losses to Spokane. In the first round of the playoffs, Central Valley played at Arkansas and scored 33 second half points and picked off three Kyle Rowley passes en rout to a 68-55 upset victory over a team that many thought would play for a championship. In the third and final rematch with Spokane, the Coyotes turned the ball over five times. Despite these turnovers, the Coyotes only trailed by seven points early in the fourth quarter. However, Spokane took control late and won going away, 83-63. The 2009 Coyotes unfortunately returned to the poor play of seasons like 2004 and 2005, going 3-13 and being outscored by an average of 60-42. The team experienced great turnover, as seven players spent significant time at quarterback. The top two contributors were Jason Murrietta and Ryan O'Hara, who combined to throw 53 touchdowns and 11 picks. Two receivers caught for over 1,000 yards in Lamonte Jones and John Roberson. The team gave up seven interception returns for touchdowns, and six kickoff returns for touchdowns. The Coyotes ended their 2009 campaign on a ten game losing streak and their final game was a 76-35 loss at Tri-Cities. The franchise folded after the 2009 season.