WYLIE — Quarterback Trey Collier rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns — and threw for two more scores — to boost Kaufman past Anna, 48-31, in a Class 4A Division I Region II bi-district match-up at Wylie ISD Stadium on Friday.
The Lions (10-1) built a 41-10 early third-quarter lead then cruised to the finish as Anna (6-5), led by senior quarterback Keelan Crosby, struck for three late touchdowns. The not-100-percent Crosby, who didn’t enter the game until the second quarter, led Coyote rushers with 105 yards and two touchdowns and also tossed a touchdown pass.
“Kaufman’s a really good team,” Anna head coach Jason Heath said. “They were picked to be in the regional finals at the beginning of the year. There’s a reason for that. They’re a very talented group. They’re going to be playing for a while. … We didn’t quit, and very easily could have. I’m proud of those guys and how we played and fought.””
The Lions didn’t have far to go for their first two touchdowns. Jay Gasper returned Anna’s first-possession punt 51 yards to the Coyotes’ 1-yard-line and from there Collier dove in for a 6-0 lead.
After another Anna punt, the Lions moved deep into Coyote territory but were thwarted by Noah Palshaw’s interception at the Anna 3. But the Coyotes gave the ball back when a back in motion contacted a snap from center and Kaufman smothered the ball near Anna’s goal line. Two plays later, Gasper found the end zone from 1-yard out and the Lions led, 14-0, with only 38 yards of offense accrued.
The opening minutes of the second quarter proved critical as well. With Kaufman finally getting the ball somewhere other than inside Anna’s 5, the Coyotes forced a punt near midfield. Linebacker Josiah Ivery and defensive end Bubba Jones burst through to block the punt and Ivery gathered in the loose ball and took it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Down, 14-7, Anna’s defense forced the Lions into a third-and-20 from the Kaufman 23. But on the play, Collier — after bobbling the ball on the ground — got around the left side and streaked 77 yards for a momentum-snatching touchdown. The Lions added two more TDs before halftime to lead 34-10.
After a 28-yard Collier-to-Cecil Gasper scoring strike opened the second half, Crosby got loose for touchdown runs of 21 and eight yards. The former was Anna’s first offensive touchdown since Oct. 27, after suffering two shutout losses to end the season. Crosby’s second touchdown was set up by Jones’ fumble recovery at the Lions’ 38.
Emmonte Davis’ touchdown catch for Anna on fourth-and-10 from the Kaufman 35 ended the night’s scoring. Davis finished with three catches for a game-high 75 yards.
“Coach Heath had his boys ready,” Kaufman head coach Jeremy Burleson said. “We were fortunate enough to hang on at the end. That No. 2 [Crosby], he’s a stud athlete. When he had the ball in his hands, we didn’t like that.
Heath noted that the Coyotes were without four starters in the contest, and that Crosby’s and senior running back Aaron Lee’s playing time had been limited due to nagging minor injuries.