VAN ALSTYNE — Quarterback Keelan Crosby rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter to boost Anna past Van Alstyne, 33-15, in non-district play Friday at Panther Stadium.
Crosby, who finished with 159 yards on 17 carries, also returned a first-quarter kickoff 54 yards to set up the Coyote’s third touchdown of the frame. Running back Abner Dubar’s short scoring run and a tackle for a safety by linebacker Antonio Moon added to Anna’s early barrage.
After one quarter, the Coyotes (2-1) led, 23-7, and that proved to be enough.
Kaleb Stewart’s 26-yard field goal added to Anna’s margin seconds before half-time. Emmonte Davis intercepted two passes for the Coyotes, including one deep in Panther territory in the fourth quarter that set up Anna’s final score — a 13-yard run by Fernando Rodriguez.
“It was good to see us come out just clicking, offensively, defensively, special teams,” Coyotes head coach Jason Heath said. “We adjusted well and made plays when we needed to. That’s what it came down to, being able to execute and make plays. I’m very proud of our overall effort.”
Van Alstyne (2-1) scored on its first possession — tying the Coyotes at seven on a 52-yard touchdown pass from Rhett Gallagher to Austin Moore — but the Panthers wouldn’t score again until the fourth quarter when Justin Barnes scooped up a loose ball and returned it eight yards for a touchdown.
Gallagher threw for 110 yards and rushed for team-high 52 yards.
“Obviously, we just weren’t very consistent,” Van Alstyne head coach Mikeal Miller said. “We turned the ball over and just never could get any momentum or get any drives sustained. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. And credit to those guys. They did a great job.”
Crosby roamed for 40 yards on his first carry, scoring six plays later from 14 yards out. After the Panthers’ quick strike to tie, their defense forced a punt. But Van Alstyne muffed the punt and Anna’s Noah Palshaw pounced on it at midfield. Five snaps later, on fourth-and-two, Crosby cruised 33 yards around the right side for the Coyotes’ second TD.
Things got worse for the Panthers on the ensuing kickoff when the ball bounced near the goal line and was downed by Van Alstyne’s deep man at the Panthers’ one. On the next play, Moon forced a safety for a 16-7 lead.
Crosby returned the following kick to the Panthers’ 20, but an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Coyotes moved the ball back to the 35. Still, Anna pushed in for another score seven plays later on Dubar’s three-yard dive. Dubar accounted for all 35 yards on the drive.
Crosby left the contest in the third quarter and did not return. At game’s end, he was sporting crutches with a taped left ankle.
“I think it was more of a precautionary deal,” Heath said. “We’ll evaluate and see where he’s at. I didn’t really see it [happen], just saw him limping and thought we’d pull him out.”