The Anna Coyotes debuted their newly remodeled stadium in fine fashion on Sept. 7, with a 27-6 takedown of Fort Worth Eastern Hills. While the storms and lightning stayed away this night, a steady rain fell in the second half as Anna took control after leading, 13-0, at the intermission.
Quarterback Junior Rodriguez led the Coyotes (1-1) with a game-high 97 yards rushing on nine carries, including a 58-yard jaunt in the second quarter, and he threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Anna wideout Emmonte Davis hauled in four catches for a game-high 75 yards and a touchdown while Coyotes running back Dorian Allen rushed for two scores on 18 carries for 73 yards. Abner Dubar got loose for a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up Anna’s final touchdown.
On the other side of the ball, Coyote defensive end Logan Rodriguez tallied a sack and a big tackle-for-a-loss, defensive end Justin Muthaka recorded a sack and defensive back Kareem Mason nabbed an interception. Anna’s leading tackler was linebacker Josh Flauding, who finished with seven stops, two assists and a tackle-for-a-loss.
“It was a good home-opener for us,” Coyotes head coach Jason Heath said. “We came out the first couple of possessions and just didn’t really adjust well. Then we kind of settled in and were able to get the ball moving. We were able to connect in the second half on some big pass plays. Defensively, I was proud of our effort – outside of one play there where we missed a tackle.”
That one play was the Class 5A Highlanders’ lone score of the night, a 58-yard catch-and-run by Lopez Enrique in the final minute of the third quarter, a touchdown that cut Anna’s lead to 20-6. Eastern Hills (0-2) was held to 43 yards rushing but managed 127 through the air. All told, the Coyotes outgained their opponent, 379 to 170.
“Defensively, I thought our guys up front did a good job,” Heath said. “They drop to pass and their quarterbacks take off and run a lot of times. We did a good job of being able to corral those guys. I thought as a team, our defense was good at swarming to the football.
“[Offensively], we’re starting to figure it out. We’re starting to be more comfortable in the things we’re doing and understanding the job. After the Whitesboro game, we thought we were not very disciplined and it wasn’t just one spot — it was different plays and different times. Coming into this game we wanted to be more disciplined as far as our role and our job and just be better on the execution side of it.”
After a scoreless contest for most of the first half, Anna struck for two touchdowns just before the break. The first score came after a 21-yard dash by Allen and Junior Rodriguez’ nearly 60-yard run down the left sideline. Allen then roamed to his left and punched it into the end zone from 11 yards out after shedding what looked like a sure tackle.
Moments later, Mason picked off his Highlander pass and, after a 15-yard Anna penalty on the play, the Coyotes were in business at the Eastern Hills 40. Dubar’s 20-yard scamper soon moved the ball to the 4 and from there Rodriguez fired a strike to Davis - diving right-to-left in the end zone - and Anna led, 13-0, 17 seconds before halftime.
The Coyotes stretched their lead to 20-0 on their first possession of the third quarter when Rodriguez floated a 24-yard pass to Noah Palshaw in the left-front corner of the end zone. After the Highlanders finally got on the board, Davis’ 18-yard fourth-quarter reception set up a 2-yard TD run by Allen to close out the scoring.
Eastern Hills threatened to score the game’s first points in the opening stanza after driving to the Coyotes’ 3, but on fourth-and-goal Kelvian Franklin’s pass into the end zone was batted away by Palshaw.
The win was the perfect antidote for Anna’s disappointing Week 1 loss at Whitesboro.
“The Whitesboro game, it was definitely driving us,” Junior Rodriguez said. “The other thing that was driving us was the stadium. Our new stadium, we couldn’t let our fans down. And we talked all week about playing for each other.” Asked about his connection with Davis in this one, Rodriguez said, “He’s my ‘go-to’ all the time. I know he’s going to fight for the ball.”
“It’s just constant chemistry,” Davis said. “We’ve been playing together since we were in sixth grade. We’re seniors so it’s quick, it’s there every day. … We just came to play. Last week, I felt like we had some first-game jitters. This week, we just got comfortable and we played the game we know how to play.”
“I felt we played really well,” added Logan Rodriguez. “We were always in the backfield, just doing our technique, doing what the coaches taught us.” As for the Coyotes’ new digs, he said, “I think it’s really nice, everybody coming out here in the new stadium. We’re here to show it off, showing love for the community.”
Next up, the Coyotes host Van Alstyne for Homecoming on Sept. 14.
Anna 27, FW Eastern Hills 6
Eastern Hills 0 0 6 0 - 6
Anna 0 13 7 7 - 27
A - Dorian Allen 11 run (kick failed), 2:57
A - Emmonte Davis 6 pass from Junior Rodriguez (Gavin Reno kick), 0:17
A - Noah Palshaw 24 pass from Junior Rodriguez (Gavin Reno kick), 9:11
EH - Lopez Enrique 58 pass from Kelvian Franklin (kick failed), 0:48
A – Dorian Allen 2 run (Gavin Reno kick), 6:59
Stats EH Anna
First downs 8 15
Rushes-yards 26-43 38-265
Passing yards 127 114
C-A-I 10-18-0 7-12-0
Punts-average 5-38.8 3-35
Penalties-yards 6-30 5-40
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1
Rushing - Eastern Hills: Jaylen Burns 8-33, Kelvian Franklin 12-5, Lopez Enrique 2-4, Tayveon Chalmers 4-1; Anna: Junior Rodriguez 8-95, Dorian Allen 18-73, Abner Dubar 8-59, Warren Mason 2-4, Amyri Cox 1-4.
Passing – Eastern Hills: Kelvian Franklin 10-18-0-127; Anna: Junior Rodriguez 7-12-0-114.
Receiving - Eastern Hills: Gerald Brown 4-41, Lopez Enrique 3-66, Tayveon Chalmers 2-19, Jaylen Burns 1-1; Anna: Emmonte Davis 4-75, Noah Palshaw 2-31, Dorian Allen 1-8.