ANNA – In a final tune-up for the 2017 football campaign, Anna’s Coyotes dueled and scrapped with Commerce on Thursday, Aug. 24, in both a controlled-scrimmage format and two full quarters of clocked live-game action. And though Anna was without some starters, ample team highlights occurred this night at Coyote Stadium.

In the ensuing “real game”scenario half of action, the teams battled to a 7-7 draw, with Coyote Josh Abara scoring from four yards out behind Jones’ sure block on the edge. Commerce answered two series later with a short TD run. That Tigers’ drive featured a 40-yard scamper down the left side to Anna’s 18-yard line.

“We’ve got to be able to settle down,” Anna head coach Jason Heath said afterward. “We’ve got to be able to respond to plays during the course of the game — not let the highs get too high and the lows get too low. You’re going to make mistakes. Be able to respond the right way… We got a lot of guys reps tonight. We were missing quite a few guys. It was good to see some of those younger guys step into some of those roles.”

As for quarterbacks Davis and Rodriguez, Heath said he saw some good things. “[Rodriguez], during that controlled part, he made a bad decision on a pass and was intercepted. Then he turned around the next play and threw a touchdown pass to Palshaw. That’s what we’re looking to see, being able to respond the right way when something bad happens… Palshaw made a great catch and run for his touchdown.”

“Emmonte is a good athlete back there. He still has to just get comfortable with what we’re trying to do, knowing where to hit the ball,” said Heath.

And the running backs? “I didn’t think we hit the holes like we needed to,” Heath said. “We’ve got to be able to run downhill, be able to get four yards every time we get the ball.”

Heath noted the play of Jones, a starting defensive end who had another good turn at fullback on offense. “He’s doing it for us defensively, but he’s also accepted his role on offense where he’s going to get to carry the ball some and also block. It was a great block on the edge [on Abara’s touchdown]. He sealed the edge and allowed us to get in and score.”

Heath also noted that the “real-game” period was good for practicing getting different units on and off the field and coordinating communications with the press box.

And so that’s it, Coyote fans. On Sept. 1 versus Whitesboro — same place, same time — it’s for keeps.