Home Sports Local Sports Anaya leads Roswell to come-from-behind victory

Anaya leads Roswell to come-from-behind victory

Roswell’s “Fast” Freddie Anaya scores a touchdown with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter, to give the Coyotes a 24-14 victory over Carlsbad at the Wool Bowl Saturday. (David Rocha Photo)

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In the first quarter of their first game of the season, Roswell looked like anything but the two-time defending District 5A champions. If it had not been for the defense limiting the powerful wishbone offense of the Carlsbad Cavemen, it could have been a run-away game for them.

Roswell’s offense regrouped as starting quarterback Zeke Gonzales settled down, and Roswell found a star on offense in “Fast” Freddie Anaya. Anaya rushed for over 100 yards, scored two touchdowns and converted on a 2-point conversion as Roswell came from behind to beat the Cavemen, 24-14, at the Wool Bowl Saturday.

“We played like a team that hadn’t played in a year and a half,” Coyotes’ coach Jeff Lynn said. “We moved the ball the whole game, we would do something stupid, we’d get a penalty or we would fumble a snap or we would miss a block. We just had some hiccups you would expect in the first game.”

When the Cavemen came out to start the game, their offensive line looked like giants. They had no problem running the ball as workhorse running back Jesse Rodriguez broke a 41-yard run to set up his 2-yard touchdown with 7:09 in the first quarter.

Roswell was able to move the ball on Carlsbad and managed to score on an 8-yard run from Gonzales. Lynn faked a field goal and tossed the ball to Talon Sanders, who scored on a 2-point conversion to give the Coyotes an 8-7 lead with 2:10 left in the second quarter.

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“Our defense hung tough,” Carlsbad coach Gary Bradley said. “Stopping Roswell on fourth down all those times is incredible.”

To start the third quarter, Roswell’s defense stopped Carlsbad on their first drive and forced a turnover on downs. Roswell ended up getting a holding call, with a 1st down and 29 at their 37-yard line. Anaya took a handoff from Gonzales and scored from 53 yards out, while Nathan Espinoza converted the 2-point conversion to give the Coyotes a 16-7 lead with 6:06 to play in the third quarter.

Carlsbad would come back and score a touchdown with 1:38 to play in the third quarter. The PAT was good, cutting Roswell’s lead to 16-14.

By the fourth quarter, Roswell’s offensive and defensive lines were pushing Carlsbad backward on both sides of the ball. Roswell’s defense was hitting with such force that they ended up putting a Carlsbad player out of the game. With the momentum hanging in the balance, Roswell took the ball back on their 4-yard line with over 11 minutes left in the game.

“I was proud of the way our team played,” Lynn said. “That last drive that our team scored on was a seven- or eight-minute drive. Our defense was kind of on their heels. They (Carlsbad) had just scored on us. I was really proud of our kids’ toughness and ability to overcome.”

Coyote quarterback Gonzales came of age on this drive. He had been bottled up most of the day, suddenly he started to see openings as he ran for three first downs to keep the clock moving.

“Zeke (Gonzales) was kind of the story of the game,” Lynn said. “He struggled early, it was his first varsity game, and he made some mistakes and got down on himself. But he kept with it and kept playing and he was emblematic of the whole team. When the game was on the line, he came through for us.”

The Coyotes turned to Anaya, who hit the jets and scampered 35 yards to the Cavemen’s 1-yard line before he was pushed out. Anaya would score three plays later, chewing more time off of the clock. He would add the 2-point conversion to give the Coyotes their opening win of the season.

“‘Fast’ Freddie Anaya,” Lynn said. “That kid is a beast and a great kid. He’s 100 mph all the time and one of the toughest I’ve been around. I can’t say enough good things about Freddie.”

On the next series of downs, Talon Sanders would intercept a pass to seal the victory. Earlier in the game, Roswell’s T.J. Fletcher intercepted a pass to stop a drive. The defense was punishing and opportunistic. The Coyotes’ defense shut down Carlsbad most of the game after the first drive.

“Our defense played well,” Lynn said. “I was a little bit worried about their size, they were much bigger than us. To hold up and to only give up 14 points, I was super proud of our defense. Coach (Arturo) Bolaños did a super job with those kids.”

Roswell’s key running play on offense was the counter play to Anaya. Roswell ran it to both sides and the offensive line wore down Carlsbad as the game went on.

Roswell travels to play Artesia at 7 p.m. Friday.

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