SOUTHLAKE – While the date, the site and the playoff round were different, the outcome was all too familiar for the Anna Coyotes. It was almost a year ago that Midlothian Heritage topped them, 1-0, in the Class 4A regional quarterfinals at Birdville. On April 2, in the area round at Southlake’s Dragon Stadium, the Jaguars prevailed once more, this time by a 3-0 count.


It was a tough ending for the Coyotes’ first-ever district-championship campaign — an undefeated one at that — and a season that featured the most wins in program history, 13. Those achievements, of course, will still be remembered when the pain of this loss has faded.


“They capitalized on some mistakes and set pieces,” Anna head coach Matt Ellis said of Heritage. “I mean, really, I think we ended up out-shooting them … by two or three shots. We had a couple of really good chances and didn’t finish them. It’s disappointing because we actually played better this year than we did last year against them. It’s just the way it goes sometimes — the breaks. They’re a good enough team that if you make mistakes they’re going to punish you. And that’s what they did tonight, especially defending the set pieces.


“Defensively, I don’t think we played poorly. Two goals came on a set piece and a third one is because we miss a mark. But during the run of play, we played fine.”


David Joaquin went the whole way in-net for Anna and recorded six saves. The Coyotes out-shot Heritage, 13-10, while the Jags had 9 shots-on-goal to Anna’s 8.


Heritage led at halftime, 2-0, and added the capper early in the second half. Anna kept battling but good chances were tough to come by as the match reached its final 20 minutes. A good opportunity came on Gavin Reno’s 30-yard boot that kissed off the crossbar with 7:15 left to play. Carlos Garrido also got loose momentarily down the stretch, only to be nudged out near the net by a Jag defender.


While the writing had been on the scoreboard for much of the second half, when the final horn blew it all became real: Anna’s notable season was over. Understandably, some tears flowed and hugs were exchanged as two or three Coyotes knelt or lay on the turf. When the team approached the bench and prepared to depart the pitch for a final time in 2019, Anna fans stood and applauded.


“This is the best season in program history, it’s not even close,” Ellis said. “That senior class, that’s a class you don’t replace. You hope you can grow from it. They’re a great group of kids and they obviously helped built the program to where it is today. We’re going to miss them – all seven of them: [Reno, Garrido, Isaac Nino, Juan Velazquez, Gustavo Martinez, Zach Lopez and Jerrod Roberts].”