4A D1 STATE SEMIFINALS: Anna Coyotes vs. Decatur Eagles
Only one opponent stands in the way of punching tickets to the UIL Football State Championships and there are still plenty of Dallas-Fort Worth area teams vying for their spot at the biggest stage in high school football! For Class 4A Division 1, the Anna Coyotes are gearing up for a battle against the Decatur Eagles. VYPE DFW takes a look at both teams and what fans can expect as Friday approaches!
Anna Coyotes (13-1, 5-0)
The Anna Coyotes have been a dark horse sneaking up on their opponents over the last couple of seasons. Last year, the team was undefeated on the season after having defeated the likes of Aubrey, Kaufman, Paris, Stephenville, Celina, and more before eventually falling in the quarterfinal round of playoffs. This season, in a similar situation, the team has lost only one game-- a 42-40 non-district battle against Celina that ended in overtime. Finishing first in their district standings, the team posted victories over Mabank, Community, Sulphur Springs, Paris, and more before entering the playoffs.
Led by sophomore quarterback Ziondre Williams (who has 2,496 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, 117 carries for 746 rushing yards, and 7 rushing touchdowns to his name this season), junior wide receiver Ronald Bell Jr (who averages 75 rushing yards per game with 7 touchdowns this season), junior running back Edward Chumley (who averages nearly 66 rushing yards per game with 15 touchdowns this season), senior Jacob Emmers (who has 12 scores on the season for the Coyotes), and others, the Coyotes offense waltzed into the playoffs ready to score every game; outscoring their playoff opponents by a combined 145-80. The defense, led by the likes of senior linebackers CJ Miller and Abram Greer (who have both recorded seven sacks this season), senior safety Jamison Adams (who has recorded six interceptions this season), senior linebacker Grayson Stewart, and more have also stepped up all season long to keep their opponents at bay.
So far in the playoffs, Anna has defeated Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins, China Spring, Panther Creek, and most recently Stephenville. The team will look to continue their dominant playoff run in the program's first-ever state semifinal game on Friday night.
Decatur Eagles (10-4, 4-0)
The Eagles are returning to the state semifinals with a score to settle. After being defeated at this stage just last season by China Spring, Decatur is looking to punch their ticket to the state title game. Off on a tough foot to begin their season, the team opened up their schedule with three consecutive losses before regrouping and finding their footing again. Defeating Pampa, and Wichita Falls Hirschi in non-district play, the team recorded four non-district losses before gearing up for their district opponents.
Going undefeated through district play, fans got to experience the Decatur squad they've become accustomed to watching. Led by senior quarterback Landon Felts, senior wide receiver Antwan Gilbreath Jr, senior running back Nate Palmer (who has scored 29 touchdowns this season while averaging around 144 rushing yards per game), senior wide receiver Luke White, and more, this team showcased perseverance and talent on the field as they defeated the likes of Burkburnett (51-21), Wichita Falls (58-0), Mineral Wells (42-7), and others en route to the playoffs.
Once in the playoffs, Decatur has taken it week-by-week. Taking down strong opponents like Dumas (45-14), Andrews (56-14), Estacado (52-21), and-- last week-- Brownwood (38-35), Decatur has proven that they still have what it takes to put forth effort through every play. Looking to punch their ticket to the state finals, Decatur is geared up for Anna.
What To Expect
Having already seen each other on the field this season in a season-opening 37-30 victory for Anna, these teams are going to expect nothing less than each others' best on Friday night. Fans of both of these teams can expect to see an intense showdown between these squads on Friday night. Anna, a team that is phenomenal at passing the ball and making their targets, can be expected to do whatever it takes to set the tone early against Decatur. Decatur, focused and poised with experience at this level of the playoffs, will look to shut down Anna's attempts at getting ahead.
This game has the potential to keep fans at the edge of their seat, so be sure you catch it! Kick-off is set for 7 p.m. in Denton, Texas at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.