VAN ALSTYNE – Last year Anna snapped a 18-year losing streak at the paws of the Panthers and was hoping to get a winning streak of its own going but Van Alstyne was able to amass nearly 450 yards in a 35-14 non-district win on Friday night.
“This was our payback week,” Van Alstyne head coach Mikeal Miller said. “Anna beat us last year and we really challenged our kids all week long to come out and get some payback for what happened last year.”
Alex Phillips had a standout game for the Panthers (2-1) – contributing on four of the five teams scoring plays and over 280 yards of offense.
Anna (1-2) went three-and-out to start the game and the Panthers took over, driving 53 yards and scoring on a one-yard Phillips run. On the drive Anna had stopped Van Alstyne and forced a field goal attempt but an offsides penalty gave the Panthers a first down and new life.
In the second quarter the Panthers had a 50-yard touchdown pass called back because of a holding penalty but were able to regroup. Bryce Moody connected with Lane Morgan for a 45-yard screen pass and Van Alstyne went up 14-0.
“We played good in spurts and not good in spurts — that’s one thing we need to work on is consistency,” Miller said. “We were able to move the ball and we opened up our passing game in the second half which helped us out a bunch in the second half.”
Midway through the second Anna got on the board when Isaac Armijo capped off a 70-yard drive with a sweep to the right from eight yards out to cut the Panther lead to seven.
The Coyotes had a chance to tie the game after recovering a fumble on the second half kickoff but after driving inside the 10 Anna stalled and the Panthers took over on downs. Three of the five second-half Coyote drives ended the same way.
“We showed that we can do it,” Anna head coach Jason Heath said. “We were efficient many times on offense and defense. We just couldn’t put back-to-back plays and back-to-back series together. We had many opportunities, it comes down to we didn’t make the plays – they did. We got to go to work, work on those little things – that’s the difference in these ball games.”
The only scoring in the third quarter was a 57-yard touchdown catch by Terry Lawrence from Phillips.
Van Alstyne took its biggest lead of the game in the fourth quarter when Phillips scampered in from 25 yards out to put his team up 28-7.
Armijo answered with a one-yard touchdown run for Anna but the Panthers immediately scored on a 22-yard TD pass from Phillips to Kearon Redmon to seal the victory.