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Anna Coyotes fall to Huskies’ defense

Rick Bailey,
The Anna Melissa Tribune

The Anna Coyotes found themselves in a battle against a tough, big-play defense on Sept. 3 when they traveled to face the Hirschi Huskies.

The Huskies were led by five-star recruit Chris Murray, who played big on defense and also scored Hirschi’s last touchdown on the offensive side of the ball on a one-yard run. Murray ended the night with 14 tackles, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles (both returned for touchdowns) and one rushing touchdown.

Anna coach Jason Heath made some observations about the performance of his young Coyotes against Hirschi.

“I was pleased with our defensive performance against them. Outside of one play in the game, we held them in check for most of the night. Offensively, we had four turnovers which two were fumbles that were returned for a TD (was pretty much the difference in the game).

“Turnovers have cost us the last two weeks and are obviously a point of emphasis for us. So, the score really doesn't show how well our defense played against a team that has many weapons.” Heath also added, “Arthur Nwokorie had a good game defensively and our defensive line played much better this week.”

Murray, a TCU recruit, caused two fumble turnovers early in the game. The first was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by Keyshun Jackson at the end of the first quarter and then Jewel Fletcher scooped up another fumble turnover caused by Murray for a 17-yard touchdown. The Coyotes found themselves down 21-7 at halftime.

Heath’s Coyotes fought back in the final two quarters. Zachareus Gentry hauled in Anna’s first score on a 20-yard pass from Josh Packard (Justin Amon kick) with four minutes left in the first quarter.

The Coyote defense locked in and made things tough for the Huskies for the third and fourth quarters. Anna moved the ball some during the second half on several drives, but miscues and the tough Huskie defense kept them out of the end zone.

The Huskies top two-way player, Murray, put a final score on the board with four minutes left in the game to put Wichita Falls up 28-7. However, the Coyotes put a final drive together that ended with a Joey Slaughter catch of a seven-yard pass from Jaden Adams with 13 seconds left on the clock for the final score of 28-13.

Offensively the Coyotes struggled on the ground, picking up just 61 yards on 35 carries. Three runners -Jambres Dubar, 11 carries for 34 yards; Davonte Davis, 15 carries for 24 yards; and Micaiah Ross, one carry for 20 yards - contributed most of the yards.

Quarterbacks Josh Packard (5-8-0-68) and Jaden Adams (10-24-2-79) combined for 15 of 32 pass attempts with two interceptions for 147 total passing yards. The receiving corps all contributed on the night as well led by Gentry (three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown), Jonathan Brown (one catch for 26 yards), Sean Steens (three catches for 22 yards), Brandon Adams (four catches for 19 yards and a touchdown), Darren Woods (one catch for 7), Joey Slaughter (two catches for five yards) and Collyn Swindell (one catch for four yards). The quarterbacks spread the ball around to seven different receivers.

Anna will host Van Alstyne on Sept. 11. The Coyotes and Panthers are very evenly matched, according to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, listed as a pick-em game. Van Alstyne is 1-1 on the season after picking up a 54-24 win over Bonham Sept. 4. This contest gives the Coyotes a chance to turn their season around after two close early season losses.

Heath is looking forward to the contest against Van Alstyne.

“They lit up the scoreboard on Friday vs. Bonham. Had a tough opponent in week one vs. Gunter. They are a very sound football team on offense and defense and don't really have any visible weaknesses. They roll a lot of different players in and they play extremely hard,” he said.

“We will have to correct the things that are keeping us from being successful. They will be a tough opponent for us. It will be good to finally be at home for a change and not having to travel 2.5 hours to play.”