The Calallen Wildcats started their district season on the right track, beating the Alice Coyotes 28-12 Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
The Wildcats extended their regular-season winning streak to 18 games with the victory.
"We moved the ball up and down the field real well," said Calallen head coach Phil Danaher. "We didn't really play well, but compared to Alice it was a winning performance."
Calallen defensive lineman Alan Ford and running back Bryden McClure stood out having great performances.
McClure may have rushed for only 78 yards, but he found Alice's end zone four times, scoring 24 of the teams 28 points.
"I owe my performance to my line," McClure said. "They opened up the holes, and I would find a way to just punch it in the end zone."
Although they gave up two touchdowns, the Calallen defense allowed only 138 offensive yards to the Coyotes. Alice quarterback A.J. Benavides threw an interception near the end of the game that was picked off by Ford, who played despite hobbling off the field in the second quarter.
"My leg is feeling fine, I'll walk it off," Ford said. "I played my role, and remembered what I worked on in practice."
The Wildcats scored first on a penalty-free, 13-play drive that began on their own 15-yard line.
Quarterback Jeramie Marek was consistent in the air, as well as on the ground, finding three of his receivers on the drive, Matt Garza, Logan Verrett, and Kenneth Rosas, for a combined 51 yards receiving.
Nearing the end of the first quarter, Calallen was deep into Coyote territory at the 3-yard line, which led to McClure's first touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
Marek had a close call as the first quarter ended when a pass deflected by the Alice defense found a way into the hands of Calallen receiver Hunter Whetsel who advanced 15-yards, keeping the drive alive for the Wildcats.
At the start of the second quarter, Calallen still had possession of the ball.
Once again, the Wildcats were in striking distance at the Coyotes' 26-yard line.
On fourth and two, Marek threw an interception to Alice's Joseph Chase, turning the ball over.
However, the Coyotes had problems against the Calallen defense - namely from Ford - who tackled running back R.J. Gomez on second down, sacked Benavides on third down, and blocked the punt on fourth down before injuring himself and being cared for on the sideline.
The blocked punt was recovered by Verrett, who brought the ball to Alice's 8-yard line, which led to another rushing touchdown for McClure.
At the half, the Wildcats were pitching a shutout, 14-0.
On their opening drive in the second half, the Wildcats found themselves again in the red zone.
On third and five, Marek threw the ball in the end zone, which was caught by Alice's Gomez for his second interception of the game.
This time, the Coyotes were successful after the turnover as Alice was able to score a touchdown on its drive - a 44-yard touchdown pass from Benavides to receiver Mateo Gonzalez. After missing the point-after, the Wildcats were ahead, 14-6.
The Wildcats answered back on their possession, as Marek was consistent in passing and rushing the ball, leading to McClure's third touchdown run of the game.
The Wildcats gained some breathing room leading 21-6 near the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Coyotes drove to Calallen's 10-yard line. Running back Amado Ramirez found the end zone, but the touchdown did not count after a flag was thrown for illegal blocking against Alice.
The Coyotes were successful the second time around as Benavides found Gonzalez in the end zone after McClure almost intercepted the ball on a deflection that landed in the receiver's hands.
Next up for the Wildcats are the Flour Bluff Hornets who also won their opening district match Friday against the Kingsville Brahmas.
"I think we'll have to play a better game than what we did here," Danaher said. "We need to execute better in the red zone."
The two will face off at Wildcat Stadium Friday night at 7:30.