(PALM SPRINGS, Ca.) – In a fourth-quarter explosion of defense, offense and special teams, the six-time champion SoCal Coyotes overcame a late 12-6 deficit and rocketed to a 30-12 victory Saturday against the Santa Clarita Tigers.

On a crisp spring afternoon made for football, a raucous, packed crowd at Desert Chapel Christian School – have you seen SoCal’s beautiful new home?!! – bathed in a nail-biting Coyotes’ see-saw battle that kept stressed fans screaming on the edge of their seats.

It finally ended with an improbable SoCal fourth-quarter that rewarded head coach and nonprofit founder J David Miller with his 100th Coyotes career victory – icing on the cake of his storied Hall of Fame coaching, playing and administrative football career. 

“Our theme at halftime was ‘we can’t have complacency, we can’t have selfishness, and we can’t lose our accountability,’” Coach Miller said. 

“There are two pains in football,” the Hall of Fame coach told media afterward. “There’s the pain of discipline, or the pain of disappointment. For the first time this season – in the fourth quarter no less – we played as a team, and we discovered the JOY of discipline.”

Lest anyone forget – the visiting Tigers were up 12-6 with a minute to play in the third quarter. 

To their credit – with just a minute left in the third – the Tigers tried to put the game away – and went for a fourth-and-1 from their own 17-yard line. 

The Coyotes’ ‘Darkside Defense’ stuffed the play for a 1-yard loss – and SoCal set up shop at the Santa Clarita 16-yard line.

The game felt like ‘homecoming’ for SoCal offensive coordinator ‘Sugar’ Shane Stafford, who played for Coach Miller with the Tampa Bay Storm during the Arena Football League’s heyday. As a quarterback, Stafford once feasted during his heralded playing career by splitting safeties with quick strikes to the post.

Now a salivating ‘Coach Stafford’ was telling young Coyotes quarterback Armando Deniz – a College of the Desert product making his first start – that the Santa Clarita safeties were not only leaving the center of the field wide open, but also playing ‘outside in’ – with “little to no chance” of recovery against a well-timed corner-post.

Deniz listened, answered and delivered a Stafford-esque rifle shot to slanting, diving wide receiver Ryan Reyes. The 16-yard score put the Coyotes up 13-12, and gave SoCal its first lead of the game with only 1:08 remaining in the third quarter.

On the next Tigers’ series, ‘Coach Law’ – as the players affectionately refer to veteran defensive coordinator Lawrence Coffey – dialed up the pressure, and the ‘Darkside Defense’ immediately answered the call. 

SoCal robber defensive back Vincent Flores – whose vicious hits bely his 170 pounds – snatched a Tiger pass from the skies and hit the gas, carefully tight-roping the sidelines 96 yards for a Coyotes’ pick-six. The sudden score and turn of events sent the stands into frenzied delerium with 13:06 to play.

Another stop by the ‘Darkside Defense’ led to a 33-yield goal by NFL prospect Daniel Parisi, out of the hold of NFL punting prospect Zachary Kozlik, from the snap of NFL prospect Brian Khoury, who spent 2021 on the New England Patriots roster. 

Parisi’s touchbacks and Kozlik’s booming punts (56.9 average, 4.3 hang time) flipped the field and kept the Tigers’ backs against the wall all afternooon.

“That’s the beauty of developmental football – we have players from Penn State, and the state pen,” quipped Coach Miller. “They all come in here with an asterisk. Our job is to find that asterisk, equip them, train them and love them, restore them as better fathers, husbands and men, and deploy them as the sons of God they are called to be.” 

With 17 seconds remaining and the Coyotes attempting to run out the clock, S-back Ryan Pervine rumbled through the middle of an exhausted Santa Clarita defense to close out the scoring at 30-12. 

America’s #1 Developmental Pro Football Program™ improved to 2-1 on the 2022 DFI-LDFL season. 

“I’m humbled to have such a talented coaching staff,” Coach Miller said. “And our players are blessed to have such powerful, great young coaches in their lives who actually care as much about them as men as they do football players.”

In the first quarter, the Tigers drew first blood with a 12-yard TD pass from quarterback Wooda Armstrong to tight end Tre Thompson, and took a 6-0 lead witih 2:26 to play.

At the seven-minute mark of the second quarter, the host Coyotes answered with a 45-yard touchdown strike from Deniz to slotback Theseus Anderson.

The Tigers took their third-quarter lead with 6:16 remaining on a 32-yard connection between QB Armstrong and WR Kenny Suber.

For more information, emal SVP Ron DiGrandi at [email protected]

AS A HEAD FOOTBALL COACH, Coach Miller has a career high school, college and pro record of 150-26 (.852 winning percentage), and is now 100-16 during his tenure with the Coyotes (.862 winning percentage). By comparison, Alabama head coach Nick Saban has an .860 career winning percentage, while New England Patriots (NFL) head coach Bill Belichik has a .720 career winning percentage. 

Coach Miller is a three-time league ‘Coach of the Year,’ the 2012 and 2013 Western Football News National Coach of the Year; a unanimous 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee; and has three perfect undefeated seasons to his credit. More importantly, The SoCal Coyotes program has produced more than 1,000 players, and the branches of Coach Miller’s ‘coaching tree’ have produced 16 current high school and college head coaches.

The son of a God-centered Italian immigrant mother, Coach Miller grew up without his father, which ultimately laid the foundation for his life’s work. In his early years, he discovered journalism and sports as outlets for his talents, stress, anxiety and passions. His editors and coaches became nurturing father figures. He worked his way to New York city, landing a job with SPORT Magazine, then the nation’s largest monthky sports periodical. In 1987, he earned the New York Newspaper Guild’s coveted ‘Page One Award’ for Exellence in Journalism.

Miller was introduced to Darrel ‘Mouse’ Davis in 1984 while writing the first national story on the Run ‘n’ Shoot (“The Pro Offense of the Future?”), which was the foundation of the modern four-wide offense – that has now become a staple in every high school, college and pro playbook. His relationship with Mouse led to both playing, coaching and administrative opportunities in the Arena Football League, as well as dozens of national articles and numerous books on the offense. Miller has coached the offense at every level – high school, college and pro.

A best-selling author, Coach Miller has written 14 books, including collaborations with NFL and NCAA icons Hank Stram, June Jones, Jerry Glanville, Mouse Davis and (current) University of South Carolina Athletic Director Ray Tanner. Coach Miller credits Mouse Davis and June Jones for ‘re-routing’ his career from journalism to coaching. “Without Mouse and June, I’d have never coached a down,” Miller says.

Coach Miller has been a CEO of four multi-million-dollar corporations, where he worked with NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Dr. Robert O. Voy, Chief Medical Officer of the United States Olympic Committee. Miller was named the California Western Region 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year. He was recognized for leadership twice by the California Legislature Assembly (2013, 2018); once by the California State Senate (2016); and once by the County of Riverside (2018).

In 2021, Coach Miller was awarded the esteemed Certificate of Congressional Recognition by California’s 36th Congressional District. Currently he is also CEO of Coachella Sports & Entertainment Stadium Authority (CSESA).


In 2021, California State Senator Melissa Melendez selected the six-time champion SoCal Coyotes from 40,000 other District 28 Inland Empire and Coachella Valley organizations as ‘Nonprofit of the Year.’  Learn more about how the Coyote full-service nonprofit organization annually impacts thousands of lives across the region at TheSoCalCoyotes.com.

The SoCal Coyotes are the national standard of American developmental football, and are 100-16 under Hall of Fame head coach and non-profit founder J David Miller. The Coyotes’ organization provides elite athletes a professional environment that refines and showcases their skills through trademarked processes similar to the NBA’s G-league and MLB’s minor-league systems.

Additionally, the Coyotes’ 501c3 and award-winning ‘Above The Line™’ leadership programs impacts the social, mental and physical growth of more than 50,000 youth annually through remedial curriculum, training camps, clinics and symposia. In 2014, NFL executives named the SoCal Coyotes organization America’s #1 Developmental Football Program™ for its national, scalable brands, and community outreach programs. It has become internationally renowned for its unblemished 10-year operational track record, supported by verifiable data, youth curriculum, sales, public-private sector alliances, and measured results.

Load More Related Articles
Load More By TSCC
Comments are closed.

Check Also


(PALM SPRINGS) – In an inspiring move to support and uplift at-risk youth, the SoCal…