SAN ANTONIO – Alice brought the crowd, which had a ton of hype going into Saturday afternoon. McCallum came prepared though, and figuratively put a muzzle on the Coyote offense.
The Knights (13-0) walked away with the 33-8 win, much in thanks to its defense. The unit was able to keep the Alice offense on standby, after its first drive.
Stopping the Alice (9-4) spread scheme and forcing either a punt or turnover on downs on its last eight drives of the game.
“We’re used to our defense doing that,” McCallum coach Charles Taylor said. “Usually our offense is scoring points, churning them out. But you know, we knew there’s going to be some times in playoffs especially where we’re going to be getting stoned and we’re going to need our defense to hold on a bit longer.”
Alice brought the hammer at first, driving the field on its second drive. It ended the drive with a Ismael Cantu one-yard score. The first quarter ended in Alice favor, giving the pro-Coyote crowd something to cheer about.
“That’s Alice football, been around 100-plus years and they’ve had the backing from the get-go,” Alice coach Kyle Atwood said. “It’s very special to be a part of the community, the high school. The support that pours into the programs. There’s no place I’d rather be and I’m blessed to be here.”
Up until the last drive of the second half, Coyote fans had everything to cheer for. Its team had held the high-powered Knight offense to seven points. A majority of its sub-100 yards on offense came on a 61-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter.
Then, it got another present. A three-and-out. The ensuing punt would guarantee the Coyotes get the ball back with time to try and score before half. However, Knight punter Mason Bryant dropped the snap. Bryant picked up the ball and swept left, where there was enough green for the first down.
Two plays later, it was second and 15 from the Alice 47 with five seconds left. McCallum quarterback Max Perez dropped back and saw Bryant, mainly a receiver, with three defensive backs around him in the end zone.
Perez took his chances and won the lottery. Bryant came down with the touchdown and took the lead the Knights would never relinquish.
“It’s big, you can feel a little bit of air coming out of them [the crowd] there,” Taylor said. “I told my kids, we go in and the first half didn’t count. We’re starting over again and it’s 0-0.”
The Knights came out of the half hot, scoring on four of its next five drives. Before anyone in the stadium knew it, they were up 26-8. Alice quarterback Trey Jaramillo was unable to complete a pass for a stretch of time and the Coyotes third down conversion rate was 26.6 percent on the game.
“They took some things away that we hadn’t seen them do on film,” Atwood said. “So what we came in thinking what they’d be in coverage-wise was a little bit different. But then you know, I thought we made some adjustments and we just didn’t break a tackle or two, or didn’t connect on a shot.”
McCallum scored once more in the final minutes to make the final score 33-8. The Knights will play the winner of Calallan and Tivy.
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