Big plays doomed the Paris Coyotes in a road loss to Scotland County, 35-8, on Friday night in Memphis, Mo.
The first series of the game provided a harbinger of the game for the Coyotes. After kicking off to the Tigers and holding them to a long third down, Scotland quarterback junior quarterback Will Fromm tossed a perfect pass to Kaden Anders, who had slipped behind the Paris pass defense, avoided a tackle and took off for a 61-yard touchdown. With the extra point, Scotland County led the Coyotes 7-0 with less than 90 seconds into the game.
It was the first time that the Coyotes, who entered the game at 2-0, were behind this young season. It would prove to be a long night as the Scotland County offense moved the ball through the Coyotes defense.
“It was a tough game, we played hard,” he said. “We just have to play smarter and execute in all phases of the game…with that being said, Scotland County has a solid football team that presented challenges for us.”
He added: “Big plays did hurt, especially the third-and-long and on their first possession that went for a 61-yard TD.”
Although there were a few good plays, including an interception by Brandon Williams in the first quarter, the Tigers spent the first half poking holes in the Coyote defense – and scoring. By halftime, Paris was behind 35-0. It was the first time this season that both the Coyote offense and defense had been dominated by a team.
“They stopped our offense by beating us on the line of scrimmage and they were good tacklers,” Crusha said. “The main lesson is we are young and have time to improve, hopefully are young guys are getting valuable experience at the varsity level.”
Although down 35-0 at the end of the game, the Coyote offense, with some solid running from senior quarterback Breck Hancock and sophomore Kaison Berrey, put together a decent drive with the Tigers defense trying desperately to maintain their shutout. Berrey punched the ball in from the 5-yard line for the only Coyote touchdown of the night thanks to a huge running lane opened by offensive lineman Aiden Forrest, a freshman, who drove a defensive tackle three yards away from the play.
After the game, the Coyote coaching staff pulled the team together for a calm meeting at midfield.
“We just shared that this was a good learning experience and talked about thing we need to improve on in order to get better,” said Crusha of the meeting.
Following that meeting, the four Paris senior players pulled the team together for a chat and a prayer.
“We have a pretty close group of guys who play for each other and our seniors are taking steps forward to help provide leadership for our young guys,” Crusha said.
There was some good news for the Coyotes. Hancock, who plays both quarterback and linebacker, achieved a major milestone during the game when he cracked the top 10 list of all-time tackles in Missouri high school football history.
After the game, Hancock was circumspect about accomplishment.
“It’s something to celebrate but not until the season is over,” Hancock said. “Now, I am just focused on helping my team win.”
Crusha echoed his comments.
“That is a great individual accomplishment; however, we don't want that to be a distraction to the team,” Crusha said of his senior star. “Breck understands his role is to be a leader on and off field for us to be successful as a team. This accomplishment just shows what hard work, dedication and love of the game can do. I don't think Breck goes out on the field worrying about how many tackles he going to get, he is just out there playing the game.”
The Coyotes, 2-1, host Knox County at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Paris game leaders: Passing – Hancock, 3-f0r11, 0 TDs, 3 interceptions. Rushing, Williams 11-for-55; Hancock, 14 for 50; and Berrey , 6-for-29 and a TD. Defense: tackling – Hancock, 16; Andrew Young, 10; Trenton Morgan, 9; Berrey, 7; Ethan Redington, Devin Brandl and Williams, 6 each; Nick Painter, 5; Devin Miler, 3; and Dennis Politte, 2.