ANNA — The Anna Coyotes debuted their newly remodeled stadium in fine fashion on Friday with a 27-6 takedown of Fort Worth Eastern Hills. While the storms and lightning stayed away, a steady rain fell in the second half as Anna pulled away after leading, 13-0, at the intermission.
Quarterback Junior Rodriguez led the Coyotes (1-1) with a game-high 95 yards rushing on eight carries, including a 58-yard jaunt in the second quarter, and he tossed two touchdown passes. Anna wideout Emmonte Davis hauled in four catches for a game-high 75 yards and a touchdown while Coyotes running back Dorian Allen rushed for two scores on 18 carries for 73 yards. Abner Dubar got loose for a 38-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up Anna’s final touchdown.
“It was a good home-opener for us,” Anna head coach Jason Heath said. “We came out the first couple of possessions and just didn’t really adjust well. Then we kind of settled in and were able to get the ball moving. We were able to connect in the second half on some big pass plays. Defensively, I was proud of our effort — outside of one play there where we missed a tackle.”
That one play was the Class 5A Highlanders’ lone score of the night, a 58-yard catch-and-run by Lopez Enrique in the final minute of the third quarter, a touchdown that cut Anna’s lead to 20-6. Eastern Hills (0-2) was held to 43 yards rushing but managed 127 through the air. All told, the Coyotes outgained their opponent 379-170.
“Defensively, I thought our guys up front did a good job,” Heath said. “They drop to pass and their quarterbacks take off and run a lot of times. We did a good job of being able to corral those guys. I thought as a team, our defense was good at swarming to the football.”
After a scoreless contest for most of the first half, Anna struck for two touchdowns just before the break. The first score came after a 21-yard dash by Allen and Rodriguez’s nearly 60-yard run down the left sideline. Allen then roamed to his left and punched it into the end zone from 11 yards out after shedding what looked to be a sure tackle.
Moments later, Kareem Mason picked off a Highlander pass and, after a 15-yard Anna penalty on the play, the Coyotes were in business at the Eastern Hills 40. Dubar’s 20-yard scamper moved the ball to the 4 and from there Rodriguez fired a strike to Davis — diving right-to-left in the end zone — and Anna led, 13-0, 17 seconds before half-time.
The Coyotes stretched their lead to 20-0 on their first possession of the third quarter when Rodriguez lofted a 24-yard pass to Noah Palshaw in the left-front corner of the end zone. After the Highlanders finally got on the board, Davis’ 18-yard fourth-quarter reception set up a 2-yard TD run by Allen to close out the scoring.
Eastern Hills threatened to score the game’s first points in the first quarter after driving to the Coyotes’ 3, but on fourth-and-goal, Kelvian Franklin’s pass into the end zone was batted away by Palshaw.
The win was the perfect antidote for the Coyotes’ disappointing loss at Whitesboro in Week 1. “The Whitesboro game, it was definitely driving us,” Rodriguez said. “The other thing that was driving us was the stadium. Our new stadium, we couldn’t let our fans down. And we talked all week about playing for each other.”