SAN ANTONIO – The Alice Coyotes are riding a hot streak while the McCallum Knights are as far as the school has ever been. Making both teams as dangerous as they could possibly be in the playoffs.
“Once you get in the playoffs and you start doing stuff that you haven’t done before, the kids start to believe and that’s always a big thing,” McCallum coach Charles Taylor said. “Our kids are the same way, it’s the first time in school history we went undefeated in regular season, most wins in school history and going on into the third round.
“So from both ssides of the ball it’s two teams who are peaking at the same time.”
That’s why this game at the Alamodome will be so huge when it kicks off at noon Saturday.
Alice is coming in off a three-overtime game against Sharyland. The team is believing but looking to move past it. However, it’s got the undefeated Knights in the way.
McCallum has three players over or near 1,000 yards rushing. It’s quarterback, Maxwell Perez, has really begun to take charge of the offense in 2017.
It won’t be the first time the Coyotes have seen a team with this rushing ability, though. That has given the defense the confidence that it can stop anyone because of the way it plays.
“We’ve seen backs that maybe don’t have outright speed McCallum has, but we’ve seen some tough running backs in district play,” Coyote coach Kyle Atwood said. “I think the advantage we have is a very physical defense, I don’t know that they’ve been hit the way they’re going to be hit Saturday. Our kids completely sell out when they tackle and they’re not afraid of contact.”
Atwood acknowledged stopping the run will be tough, but if done right, could put McCallum in a tight spot. It’s passing attack is efficient, but Atwood said he believes it’s what he wants them to do if it comes down to it.
Asking coach Taylor, he believes Perez can still put the team over if need be.
“I think people sleep on us throwing the ball,” Taylor said. “He’s near 1,000 yard pass and rushing, so we can throw it. We have a big receiver out there, we’re confident in our full scheme and we’ll take what the defense gives us.”
When it comes down to the wire, it won’t be about talent. At least, that’s what Taylor says. He believes the two teams are more evenly matched than most might think when initially looking at it and in the end, it comes down to the work ethic.
“I truly don’t believe there’s a mismatch anywhere around on the field. I think we kind of mirror each other,” Taylor said. “Our thing is, what we told the kids to focus on is we can’t let anybody play harder than us. We got to go out there, play as hard as we can play and that’s our big thing. We’ve won a lot of football games that way, sometimes there’s people more talented than us but it’s just because we play harder than the other team.”
McCallum is the favorite to win this game, but Alice doesn’t really mind it. As most, it deserves to be in the playoffs at this point and knows what it’s up against. But also like most, it relishes the chance to be the underdog.
“That’s perfectly fine by us,” Atwood said. “We know what we’re capable of and our kids feel like we’ve gotten better each week. You look back at it a fw weeks back and we played Calallan. We feel like we’re a lot better team than we were at that time so we feel like we can play with anybody and we’re excited and ready to accept a challenge that’s McCallums caliber, a 12-0 team that’s 12-0 for a reason.”
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