Since the end of last year’s football season, Alice coaches have been stressing to players of the importance of being their best in every game.

That approach helped Alice win a district playoff game followed by two state playoff contests in 2017. Now, on the verge of the beginning of District 15-5A, Div. II, Alice coaches are once again asking for the team’s very best.

“We’ve talked to the kids all year about winning and how every time we stepped onto the field of play, the importance of playing really, really well,” second-year Alice coach Kyle Atwood said. “This being the first game in district, this game sets the tone for the rest of the season. Thursday night is a very important game for us.”

Alice and Tuloso-Midway at kicking off the 15-5A, Div. II season at Warriors Stadium at about 7:15 p.m. The unusual start time is because the game is broad by KRIS-TV. The broadcast is on The CW Network. It begins with a pregame show at 7 p.m.

The Coyotes and Warriors have identical 2-1 records through the preseason.

Both teams are coming off of byes last week. It provided extra time to rest up and go back to basics.

“We were able to go back and work on fundamentals and stuff that can make us a good football team,” Atwood said. “We used the little extra time to get healthy, and I think everyone — players and coaches are anxious to get back at it.”

For Alice, junior quarterback Isaiah Aguilar is the main cog in its offense. Aguilar has nearly a 50-percent completion percentage. He’s completed 30 of 51 passes for 600 yards. He's thrown seven touchdown passes to five interceptions.

Senior Devyn Orta leads the team in receiving with five catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns. The Coyotes receiving corps also includes junior Waylon Moore, who hauled in a game-winning touchdown pass in the Coyotes’ 20-15 win against Rockport-Fulton in their last game. Other contributors to the Alice receiving corps includes A.J. Moreno and Jacob Guzman.

The Alice running game has included mostly carries by Aguilar and running backs Ismael Cantu and R.J. Salaiz.

Defensively, the Coyotes have seemingly improved with each passing week. Alice gave up 22 points in a Week 1 loss to Laredo Alexander. Two of the Bulldogs’ scores came on jump-ball passes in the end zone. The Coyotes limited H.M. King to only seven points. They gave up 15 to Rockport-Fulton.

Alice and Tuloso-Midway’s only common opponent this season is H.M. King. The Brahmas led a late opportunity slip away and lost to the Warriors, 7-3. Alice dominated H.M. King and won, 39-7.

The Warriors began the season with a 7-3 victory against H.M. King and a 28-7 win against Corpus Christi Carroll. Their quick start setup and early season showdown of unbeatens against South Texas powerhouse Beeville. The Trojans were simply too much and beat the Warriors, 42-7.

Alice beat T-M, 21-19, in their meeting last year. The Coyotes scored on it’s first two possessions to build an early lead. The Warriors made a game of it late, but Alice held on for the win.

“I think last year we scored early and had some complacency,” Atwood said. “T-M has a good football team. We need to get our minds right and not look over them. We’re going to have to compete and be ready to go.”