AUBREY — The play that swung momentum in Aubrey’s favor in Friday night’s nondistrict game against Anna was the same play that burned the Chaparrals from the opening whistle.
The first time Anna’s Isaac Armijo returned a kickoff, he sprinted down the left sidelines and was tackled 2 yards short of the Aubrey goal line, setting Anna up for an early touchdown.
The second time Armijo returned the ball, he was on his own goal line, in his own end zone, and he couldn’t escape.
Armijo was tackled for a safety and from then on, Aubrey controlled the contest. The Chaparrals scored 39 straight points after the safety and went on to pick up the 42-13 victory at Chaparral Stadium.
The tackle in Anna’s end zone helped spark Aubrey (1-1) to its first win of the season.
“You could see it in the kids’ eyes on the sidelines,” Aubrey head coach Mike Segleski said after the safety. “‘Hey, we’re still in this ballgame. It’s still going to be a fight for us.’ We felt really good. … That was the turning point, no doubt about it.”
Aubrey senior running back Daniel Longhenry carried the team’s offensive burden. Longhenry finished with 233 rushing yards on 30 carries.
He sparked the Chaparrals’ offense after the tackle that landed Aubrey two points and the ball.
Armijo fumbled the kickoff from Aubrey’s Evan Moore and chased it near the right corner of the field. Armijo scooped it up and ran parallel to his own goal line. Aubrey senior Clay Kelly brought Armijo down in the red turf in Anna’s end zone, cutting the Coyotes’ (1-1) lead to 7-5.
On the ensuing possession, Aubrey senior Matt Duncan rumbled his way into the end zone from 3 yards out to put the Chaparrals ahead for good.
“That safety in the end zone just sparked us,” Kelly said. “That’s where we started rolling.”
Aubrey defensive back Cole Cannon also had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown, one of three forced turnovers by the Chaparrals.
RyLee Hellman added an interception in the victory. Armijo had 15 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown to lead the Coyotes.
Segleski said he prefers when Longhenry is the team’s workhorse, eating up chunks of yards and chunks of time off the clock.
“He was great tonight,” Segleski said. “That’s what we need from him all season if we’re going to make it to the playoffs.”
Longhenry followed his blockers up the middle of the field and pounded away for most of the night, a method that was successful repeatedly against Anna.
“I thought the lineman did really well,” Longhenry said. “They did a good job of making us backs look good, too. We did a good job of not giving up.”
Last week, the players and coach said the team caved early in a season-opening loss against Pottsboro. Unlike last week, the Chaparrals were able to respond from early adversity.
“[Pottsboro] got us down, and we kind of dropped our heads instead of pulling back up and getting after it,” Segleski said. “We shot ourselves in the foot most of the night.
“Tonight, we didn’t do that.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.
Aubrey 42, Anna 13
AN — Isaac Armijo 1 run (Alan Segura kick)
AU — Evan Moore 30 FG
AU — safety, ball carrier tackled in endzone
AU — Matt Duncan 3 run (Evan Moore kick)
AU — Cole Cannon 11 run (Evan Moore kick)
AU — Clay Kelly 29 run (Evan Moore kick)
AU — Matt Duncan 12 pass from Mason Robinson (kick failed)
AU — Evan Moore 41 FG
AU — Cole Cannon 25 interception return (Evan Moore kick)
AN — Hunter Green 11 pass from Ty Chapman (run failed)
Rushing — AN: Isaac Armijo 15-124, Brandon Dossett 3-34, Ty Chapman 12-17, Team Stat 1-6, AU: Daniel Longhenry 30-233, Clay Kelly 6-44, Phillip Wilds 7-15, Cole Cannon 2-10, Matt Duncan 4-9, Tyler Williams 1-4, Mason Robinson 2--8.
Passing — AN: Ty Chapman 11-23-2-78, AU: Mason Robinson 5-7-0-83.
Receiving — AN: John Erwin 5-43, Hunter Green 4-26, Dylan Duncan 1-7, J’Varri Stewart 1-2, AU: Matt Duncan 2-33, Calvin Stang 2-30, Cole Cannon 1-20.