The Borden County Coyotes have been known for the past few years now as a team with a powerful run game. Take for example the leading rushers from the past two state title teams, Michael Cooley in 2009, and Corbin Sumners from last season’s 14-1 1A DI champions.
Cooley, who rushed for 2,613 yards and 52 touchdowns in BC’s undefeated 2009 title run, was described as “small and shifty” by head coach Trey Richey. Though Cooley rushed for 140 yards on 18 carries in the title game, the running back was “sick as a dog” during the contest, an anecdote not many are familiar with according to the coach.
Sumners, on the other hand, was bigger and bowled over defenders more often and was able to play in a system where the field was “opened up more,” Richey said. The coach heaped praise on both however: “Every time they touched the ball, it was an opportunity for it to become a home run ball.”
After opening the season with a shutout over Meadow and a 58-2 win over Lingleville, the Coyotes suffered their only setback in 2016 with a tough 62-60 loss to an always potent Calvert squad. From then on however, BC was dominant, shutting out Nazareth and Paducah. The Coyotes allowed a total of 64 points in those five games, while scoring an average of 55.4 points during this portion of the schedule.
“We started out the year banged up, but still played well at the start. The Calvert game was key to our whole season, it was our turning point,” said Richey.
Borden County dominated 5-1A DI competition, allowing only six points to Hermleigh and shutting out Klondike, Ira and O’Donnell. The great play carried over into the postseason, beginning with a 56-6 win over Sterling City in bi-district, the game in which Richey felt the team was “at our healthiest all season.” The Coyotes escaped the second round with a 40-32 win over Imperial Buena Vista, but followed it up with a 66-48 win over Garden City and a 92-58 shootout over Happy in the semifinals. BC’s season was capped off with a 60-12 blowout over Jonesboro in the title game, a game in which the Coyotes never trailed.
RB Corbin Sumners, QB Hunter Jones, DE Braxton Coor
“Any time you’re at a school our size and you graduate eight guys, that’s a large class,” said Richey of graduating a good portion of the 2016 team, including these top three talents. Sumners and Jones formed one of the more potent duos in six-man, having combined for 4,948 yards and 89 touchdowns in 2016.
The effort earned Sumners district MVP and Jones first team all-district at both spread back and safety, as well as first team all-state at safety. Coor was a defensive stalwart as well, racking up 99 tackles, five sacks and five forced fumbles and recoveries on his way to earning all-state honors on defense.
FB/LB Trace Richey, RB/DB Nick Proulx, WR/DB/K Easton Edwards
Richey will once again be coaching one of his sons, this time do it all fullback and linebacker Trace, who tallied 639 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns in 2016 along with 180 tackles and six interceptions en route to earning defensive MVP honors at the state level. The coach noted similarities between Trace and older brother Tanner Richey, a three time all-state finalist who suited up for the Coyotes from 2009 to 2012.
Proulx didn’t receive many accolades from last season, but the senior running back is described by Richey as “phenomenal, the factor nobody’s seen.” All state kicker Edwards will see more time on the playing field in 2017, taking snaps at running back and at defense.
Borden County’s schedule for 2017 has some differences, and more challenges. The Coyotes open up the season against Petersburg, the district 4-1A DII champions and area round finalists from last season. The two games to watch for are back-to-back matches against Austin Veritas, and a rematch against Calvert; Veritas won the TAPPS 6M-DI title last season, and return four offensive and defensive starters.
5-1A DI play this season features multiple dynamics, providing several tests for the Coyotes. Ira will be a very young squad, but there is reason for hope there as the JV went a perfect 9-0 last season, Hermleigh and Klondike will be under the direction of new coaches, and O’Donnell returns four starters on defense.
The Coyotes can have another excellent season in 2017; even though BC lost a handful of talented players from last season’s team, the cupboard is far from bare. The Coyotes are the favorites to win district, and barring injuries could perhaps be even more potent in the postseason.
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