The Anna Coyotes (3-1) handed Class 4A Benbrook its first loss of the season, 24-21, on Thursday in non-district action at Fort Worth’s Farrington Field. Highly-touted Bobcats running back Quintan Jackson rushed for over 250 yards but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Coyotes’ 24-7 charge through three quarters.


After defensive lineman Justin Muthaka boosted Anna’s lead to 24-7 in the third stanza with his recovery of a bad snap in the Bobcats’ end zone, the Coyotes withstood Benbrook’s fourth-quarter rally for their third-straight win.


“Facing an undefeated Benbrook team, we knew we had a tough challenge ahead of us,” Anna head coach Jason Heath said by phone on Friday. “They have an outstanding running back that has rushed for 300 yards a game. We knew he’s a big part of their offense and we had to control him. … I thought, defensively, in the first half we did a really good job of controlling him, outside of one play. We had a few missed tackles and when he gets in the open space he’s gone. … I think he wore out towards the end. They were using him so much and we were doing a good job of tackling him and getting to the football.


“There were several things in the game that we had to overcome, and some calls and some penalties. It’s good that you get to see some of this stuff in non-district, see how your team responds. Hopefully, that’ll pay dividends later on down the road in district.”


Due to weather concerns, there were questions as to whether the game would start on time – but it did.


“We had to cut our pre-game short,” Heath said. “It kind of gets you out of your routine. It can mess with you a little bit. But I thought we responded pretty well that first half and were able to capitalize on some mistakes that they made. … I know we’re not any different than any other team in the state of Texas this past month, having to deal with weather and change of plans and delays. It’s been a crazy few weeks, just with the weather itself.”


A Dorian Allen interception ended the Bobcats’ first drive and led to Anna quarterback Junior Rodriguez’ 19-yard TD throw to Emmonte Davis on 4th-and-9.


“We had kind of had a bad snap on that,” Heath said, “and the ball was on the ground for a second. … I don’t know if that messed up the safety on that play, as he maybe got caught with his eyes in the backfield, but [Rodriguez] threw it up to Emmonte and Emmonte went up and got it. That was a big play to kind of start our scoring for the evening.”


Jackson answered for Benbrook with a 56-yard TD run late in the first frame. Rodriguez’ 5-yard touchdown run put the Coyotes up, 14-7, with three minutes left in the half and, before the break,


Anna kicker Gustavo Martinez added a 21-yard field goal for a 17-7 advantage.


After Muthaka’s big play in the third quarter, the Bobcats put up two touchdowns in the fourth — a 22-yard William Green pass to Brice Hill and Jackson’s 36-yard TD run with a 2-point conversion.


Allen led Coyote rushers with 81 yards on eight carries and Abner Dubar added 48 yards on 13 attempts.


Davis gathered in three passes for 36 yards on the night. Dubar, from his defensive back position, was Anna’s top tackler with four solo stops and three assists, while linebacker Trey Cook and D lineman Gordon Darden added four tackles with two assists each. Muthaka was next with three stops.


Benbook outgained the Coyotes, 319 yards to 204, but it didn’t matter.


“Going into district you want to have something positive,” Heath said of the victory. “We still have a lot of room for improvement in certain areas. We’ve just got to continue to get better. Being 3-1 right now … is a good spot to be in, but we know in district all the records are out the door. It doesn’t matter if you’re 0-4 or 4-0.”


Anna opens district play Sept. 28 at Paris North Lamar.


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Anna 7 10 7 0 - 24


Benbrook 7 0 0 13 - 21