PARK CITY -- With a final score that would make even Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach blush, the Shelby Coyotes knocked off the Park City Panthers in the second round of the 8-man playoffs by a final score of 87-68.
Both teams came flying out of the gates with Tucker Johnstone leading the way for the Panthers with a kickoff return for a touchdown and a touchdown reception. Shelby had some dynamite plays themselves, with Cameron Brusven and Tabris Correa competing to see who’s 40-yard dash was faster in the first half as both went for long touchdown runs. Despite the offensive onslaught by both teams in the first half, neither team was able to truly pull ahead as Park City lead 34-33 at the half.
Coyote runningback Cameron Brusven and quarterback Taylor Parsons said at the half, their head coach said he thought they came out a bit slow to start the game, but also let them know that the game was well within reach as long as they continued to press on.
“We had a heck of a halftime speech," said Brusven. "Just a little bit everything, man. We came out a little slow. The second quarter was a little bit better, but still not great. It's just playing coyote football. We weren't doing that in the first half.”
“He picked us up. He told us just to air that ball out a little more and keep the fire. We got a-whole-nother half to go and keep pounding the ball,” said Parsons.
With the score near a deadlock through two frames, both teams traded scores to open the half, but it was Shelby that took the one-point lead after a successful point-after try.
Then the Coyotes began to open it up on offense while maintaining a relatively stiff defense, although the scoreboard may not have indicated it.
Coyotes head coach Mike White said after the game, the break at the half was crucial for his team as it allowed them to get back to the drawing board so they could get important stops in the second half. White also noted they still have more work to do if they want to keep moving through the playoffs.
“We got a few things adjusted at halftime, and they did have a good third quarter. It kind of set the tone for the rest of the game," said White. "We kind of got that two scores, and it was back and forth. But, we've definitely got to polish some things up, that's for sure.”
The Coyotes were able to outscore the Panthers by 20 points in the second half and white said after the game, they’re big not on singling players out. What's most important is that it was a good team win.
We're not a big single guys out [team]. Everybody helps, everybody contributes, does their role," said White. "That's kind of what happened today. I mean, we had a lot of guys touched the ball on the offensive end."
The Coyotes will now head to Scobey to take on the Spartan in the semifinal round of the 8-Man playoffs next Saturday.