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By Coach Trey Richey
Special to The Post Dispatch
The 2021 football season got off to a rough start as the first play of the game set the tone for what would be the theme of this season opener as the Borden Coyotes traveled to Jayton to play in the18th Gridiron Classic, facing the defending state runner-up May Tigers.
The Coyotes got the ball to start the game and had a particular play call they hoped would jump start the 2021 season, but instead, it fueled the Tigers as a fumbled snap exchange for the Coyotes lead to a turnover and the Tigers wasted no time in making the Coyotes pay for their mistake scoring on their first offensive play to quickly take an 8-0 lead.
The Coyotes would quickly get deep into Tiger territory with a nice pass and catch from Ishmael Rodriguez to Kallan Kuehler, covering 35 yards
to the 15-yard line. But the other theme of the evening, costly penalties, did just that, a run inside the 5-yard line was nullified due to a holding penalty and then a stumble cost the Coyotes a reception in the endzone and after all was done on the drive the Coyotes turned the ball over on downs.
The Coyote defense of Brandt Behrens, Rodriguez, Kuehler, Rhett Kingston, Koda Bigham and a rotating group starting with Thomas Snell, Shanks Walker, Garrison Proctor and Kasen Oaks were able to force the ball over on downs. It appeared the Coyotes would mount a drive, but another big penalty thwarted that thought forcing the ball over on downs again.
Another defensive stop gave the Coyotes the ball deep in Tiger territory, but the giving Coyotes, did just that fumbling on the first play and again May took advantage and quickly scored to make the first quarter score 16 – 0. The Coyotes finally started what would amount to their only scoring drive of the game, marching down the field converting a couple of 4th downs in the process, getting most of the yards on the ground behind the running of Rhett Kingston who followed some nice blocks by Bigham, Behrens, Foree, Rodriguez, Walker and Kuehler. The final 5 yards to pay dirt saw Kingston walk in untouched to cut the lead to 16 to 6. Behrens point after kick was blocked leaving the game a two-possession game.
The Coyote defense again stiffened forcing the ball over on downs. The Coyote offense again had a costly penalty that wiped out a nice play for the Coyotes and they were unable to overcome the mistake. The Tigers took over, but with 2:34 left in the first half and the tigers facing a 4th and 7, a play that what would turn out to be the biggest play of the game, the Tigers were able to convert the play with a 17-yard reception setting them up at the coyote 10 yard line. Two plays later, the Tigers owned a 24 to 6 lead with a minute left in the half. Another miscue by the Coyote offense resulted in a scoop and score to extend the lead for the Tigers to 30 to 6 with just a few seconds left in the half. The tigers would get the ball to start the second half and two plays later they extended their lead to 37 to 6.
After a quick 4 and out by the Coyotes the Tigers struck again to push the lead to 45 to 6. After another penalty and a dropped pass forced the ball over on downs, the Tigers put the game away with a 28-yard touchdown pass ending the season opener at 51 to 6 by the mercy rule, dropping the coyotes to 0-1 on the season.
The Coyotes schedule doesn’t get any easier as they will take a short week and travel to Westbrook to take on the #4 Wildcats Westbrook lost its opener Thursday to Motley County, 46-3.