COLLEGE STATION — The Anna Coyotes’ second trip in school history to the state 7-on-7 tournament didn’t turn out as they’d hoped — but experience is sometimes costly. Anna dropped all three games in pool play — to Alpine, Pleasanton and Fairfield — and fell to Bay City in the consolation bracket to end their trip to the Division II State 7-on-7 Tournament, June 29-30, at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex in College Station.
The Coyotes were coached George White. See below a brief review of each Anna contest, in chronological order, along with post-game comments from White as well as Coyote players.
Pool play/ June 29
Game 1 — Alpine Bucks 26, Coyotes 20
Alpine broke on top, 6-0, on a first-possession, fourth-and-goal touchdown and followed that with an interception. Anna recovered to take a 7-6 lead when Emmonte Davis found a leaping Keelan Crosby in the left corner of the end zone. Crosby also went high for the 1-point conversion catch.
The Bucks came back with two deep-pass TDs to lead, 20-7, then struck for their second interception. Crosby opened the second half getting loose down the right sideline for a touchdown catch at the goal line and Josh Abara’s 1-point-conversion grab moved the Coyotes to within 20-14. But Alpine punched back with the eventual game-winner to lead, 26-14, with under 10 minutes to play.
Needing a quick score, Aaron Lee’s diving try at a tipped fourth-down pass in the end zone just missed. Anna would score late on a short toss to Abara after a deep ball to Lee down the right side.
“They were killing us on the short routes and then they started killing us on the long routes,” White said. “We just need to relax. I think we got a little bit of nerves. The second half we came out and we pretty much shut them down. They couldn’t throw long on us anymore.”
Crosby said Alpine’s defense initially had the Coyotes off-balance.
“That was our go-to from the beginning of the game, to try to hit them deep and see if we could score quick and get back on defense, and keep moving the ball down the field,” Crosby said. “But they were playing deep so it kind messed with us at first. … For the whole first half they had us beat, we weren’t ourselves. The second half we came out, got adjusted to it, started throwing short routes and we were able to move the ball. But it was too late for us to come back.”
For the next game, White said what’s important is “just making sure we get our assignments right, get where we need to be and I think we’ll be better in the next two games.”
Game 2 — Pleasanton Eagles 26, Coyotes 0
Anna’s offense couldn’t get untracked and Pleasanton’s methodical marches down the field ate up clock. Still, the Eagles led just 13-0 midway through the second half. Keelan Crosby stopped one Pleasanton drive with an interception but then the Eagles pulled away. After going up 19-0 with five minutes left to play, a Pleasanton defender went high for a one-handed interception which led to the Eagles’ final score on the last snap of the game.
Said White, “They were running a lot of crossing routes, they were running a lot of out routes, they were doing a lot of picks, and we just couldn’t pick it up. Hopefully, this last game we’ll get it all straight. We’ve got to get going on offense.”
“We were killing ourselves,” Josh Abara said. “People were running the wrong routes, dropping balls, not getting open, really.”
Game 3 — Fairfield Eagles 39, Coyotes 13
Fairfield built a 20-0 lead before the Coyotes got on the board with a Keelan Crosby-to-Kareem Mason early-second half pass. The Eagles slapped back with TD to go up, 26-7, with 10 minutes remaining. Emmonte Davis would connect with John Mark Box for a score to draw within 26-13, but one play later Fairfield answered with a bomb over the middle.
Leading, 32-13, with a minute left to play, Fairfield scored its final points on a hook-and-ladder pass to the left side.
“We need to just talk, communicate on defense,” Davis said. “I think we’ll be fine. We’ve got some good guys out here. … We need to just come out there (tomorrow) with a chip on our shoulder.”
White’s message to the Coyotes: “Keep your heads up and play hard. That’s it. It’s football. You’re gonna win some, you’re gonna lose some. When you’re losing, nobody likes it — but you’ve got to keep your head up and keep playing. It’s just like life. Sometimes we get down, but we’ve got to keep our heads up and keep pushing on.”
Consolation bracket / June 30
Game 1 — Bay City Black Cats 32, Coyotes 13
The Black Cats went up, 6-0, on their first drive but Anna bounced back with an Emmonte Davis-to-Trey Cook deep ball and a TD pass to Aaron Lee to take a 7-6 lead. Interceptions, though, would wreck the Coyotes’ chances in this, their tourney finale. The first pick came on Anna’s next possession, which Bay City quickly turned into seven points. The Black Cats right came back with another interception, this time on a tipped ball, and soon led, 19-7. Antonio Moon batted away this conversion attempt for Anna.
The Coyotes then showed life, with Davis connecting again with Cook near the Bay City goal line and Lee capping the drive with a leaping TD catch. But trailing, 19-13, to open the second half, Anna was stopped again with a pick, this one on a deep pass over the middle. The Black Cats’ drive stalled, though, when Mason Williams batted away a fourth-down pass at the goal line.
Bay City would eventually put up two more scores for the win.
And so Coyotes’ tourney was over — and 38 days remained until the first Anna football practice of 2017.
“I feel we can understand what we’ve got to work on,” Cook said of this experience. “We’ve got to work on our catching ability, better route running and just overall being more competitive. The end result didn’t come out like we wanted but I think we learned to come out with a spark, come out fast.”
“We could’ve played better,” White said. “We should’ve played better. They had a few plays and we were down, and we just couldn’t get ourselves picked back up. … We just need to finish the game,” he said. “That’s it. Just finish.”