By Marcus Elliott
ANNA — Even though Anna was coming off a disappointing loss to Bonham and facing a team an undefeated Princeton squad, the Coyotes followed Isaac Armijo’s lead to a victory that not only clinched a playoff spot it set Anna up for a shot at the district title.
Armijo finished with 292 yards and five touchdowns on 35 carries as the Coyotes defeated Princeton, 42-28, in District 12-3A action on Friday night.
"Obviously this is a big win," Anna head coach Jason Heath said. "We finally put together a game like we thought they could. Our coaches put together a great game plan but our players went out and executed it well.
"These players could have easily been intimidated by a much bigger, much more athletic team but they were not. Very proud of their efforts."
Anna (3-6, 2-1), which has the bye this week, is guaranteed to worse than a chance to share the district crown when it plays first-place Melissa to close out the regular season. Princeton (7-1, 1-1) faces the Cardinals this week meaning there could be a three-way tie at the top of the standings after Friday.
"This put us in the playoffs and gives us a chance to possibly play for a district championship," Heath said. "Great to see our seniors get such a big win on a night that was special for them."
The Panthers drove to the Coyote 20-yard line before turning it over on downs to open the game. On their next possession though, they moved the ball with precision and Trey Jackson found the end zone with a five-yard run midway through the first quarter.
Armijo had a 40-yard run to get Anna into Panther territory and the red zone and then scored from 13 yards out to knot up the game.
On its ensuing possession, Princeton was in a passing situation on third-and-12 when Chase Pinion sacked Jourdan Blake and forced the punt that would be returned by Joseph Lopez for 50 yards.
A few plays later Armijo broke through the right side of the line and scored from 11 yards out to give Anna the lead.
Blake scored from 62 yards out to bring Princeton even in the last few seconds of the first quarter. He finished the game with 158 yards and three scores on the ground and 188 yards through the air.
Anna scored in the second quarter with a Ty Chapman run from 10 yards out. It looked like the Coyotes would go into halftime with the lead but Princeton was able to convert a fourth-and-five pass that was tipped off a defender’s hands and kept alive.
Blake scored moments later to tie the score at 21.
On its first drive of the second half, Anna capitalized on a 55-yard connection from Chapman to John Erwin to set up another Armijo score and the Coyotes regained the lead.
In the fourth quarter, Armijo scored twice more and built a 42-21 advantage and a late touchdown from Princeton was of little consequence as the Coyotes pulled off the upset win.