It was a battle for District 15 in 5A-2 Region 4 on Friday night. The weather was great and the atmosphere was even better. The smell of BBQ filled the air and Philip Danaher Field was full of fans ready to cheer on their teams. Alice came into this game 7-1 and needed the victory to keep its district title hopes alive. The Calallen Wildcats were in the driver seat with an undefeated 8-0 record.
The game was a good battle of two different styles and philosophies on offense. The wildcats rely heavily on the rushing attack, using 3 backs most of the time, and rarely pass the football. They only have 348 yards in the air on 34 attempts this whole season, The Coyotes play a different style than they have historically. Alice was always an option running team, using 3 running backs as well. Currently they like to spread teams out with 10 personnel and empty formations, with a mix of run and pass.
From the very start you could tell both teams really wanted to win this game. The energy was high, and there was no shortage of physicality from either team. The wildcats deferred and kicked off to start the game. It didn’t take long for the wildcats to go up 14-0 against the Coyotes but Alice kept fighting. They struggled to run the football against the Wildcat defense, and couldn’t seem to connect on passing plays either. Calallen had a lot of success on the ground early, and Junior Running Back Jeremiah Earls quickly stood out with big plays.
Late in the 2nd Quarter, the Coyotes started connecting a lot on deep out routes. With 4:18 left in the 2nd, Senior QB Isaiah Aguilar connected on a deep pass to Senior WR Weston Moore to make it a 14-7 ball game. Calallens next possession resulted in a turnover when QB Jarrett Garza threw an INT, and the Coyotes capitalized. In 44 seconds, Alice scored again but missed the extra point. The end of the 2nd Quarter was a major part of this game and going into halftime it was 14-13 Wildcats.
When we got into the 4th we had a 24-13 ball game. Calallen was in the redzone facing a 4th down and forced to kick a field goal. The attempt was good to make it a 27-13 game but Alice jumped offsides. Instead of taking the points, Coach Danaher accepted the penalty and elected to go for it on 4th and 5. The wildcats were able to convert and get a fresh set of downs, which resulted in a TD. Instead of a 27-13 game, it was 31-13. That decision from Coach Danaher really helped put this game away.
The final was 38-25, with Alice scoring a couple quick touchdowns towards the end of the game. By this time, the Coyotes had dug a whole too deep to climb. Turnovers, penalties, and dropped balls on kick returns hurt them overall. A penalty and turnover helped give the Wildcats two touchdowns that made all the difference on the scoreboard. Alice now falls to 7-2 sitting at 3rd place in district standings. Next week they will play Gregory Portland, who sits at 6-3 and is fighting for a playoff spot.
Calallen holds down 1st place in district standings. Next week they will play Calhoun Port Lavaca. Calhoun is currently in 2nd place within the district and have a 7-2 overall record with only 1 loss in district. Their one loss came from a forfeiture due to an ineligible player in the game against the Alice Coyotes. The district will be very interesting to watch next week, as we could see some movement in district standings.