Please pardon the interruption in coverage of the Richland Springs football program. Unscheduled business and family matters had this reporter on weekend road trips to the Midwest and California as well as Houston and numerous jaunts to the MetroMess in the last few weeks. The Richland Springs Coyotes kicked-off the season with dual scrimmages against Zephyr and Rochelle, and the following week against 2011 Division I champion Throckmorton, and a third ranked Division I team from Valley. Although no official scores were kept in these scrimmages, the Coyotes convincingly showed, that they could compete with the much larger enrollments of the Division I schools. Opening week, the Coyotes mercy ruled the Division I May Tigers by a score of 63-18 with the game ending early in the third quarter. Richland Springs fields only 12 players this season, but similar to past championship teams, they are exceedingly quick and well-coached. Stepping in for the gone but not forgotten All-World spread back, Denim Reeves, is Chance Bush a two time All-State senior and a bright star in his own right. Senior Thomas Fowler again triggers the offense at quarterback, carrying on a tradition of Fowlers at that position. Returning starters from last season include All-State defenseman Gunner Mann along with Chris Munoz and Patrick Phillips. Freshman Brian Salinas rounds out the starting six for the Coyotes. The super quick Ty Mann returns and is not a stranger to the end zone, scoring many times, for the 2011 Championship team. Trevor Tinney also had valuable Varsity experience last year and will compete for the starting kicking job this year. Stanley Buttler, Jonathan Patino, Storm Teel, and Jacob Cohn, all with good speed and quickness, will be ready to step in, as needed, for the Coyotes. Last Thursdays’ game at Coyote Field seemed like an exercise in futility for the fledgling Patriots of Comanche Premier. You have to admire their willingness to take on the back to back defending State Champs, but the end result was not pretty. Negative total yards gained, no first downs, and a 46-0 halftime score….another mercy rule victory for the Coyotes. Head Coach Jerry Burkhart masterfully juggled the limited minutes between his starters and reserves with all players receiving much needed and meaningful experience. Chance Bush led the Coyotes offensively, scoring on 2 of 4 running plays, and completing 3 of 4 passes for 2 more touchdowns. Ty Mann scored on a 50 yard catch and run on the very first play of the game to set the tone and signal a very short night for the Patriots. Ty also had a beautiful 45 yard punt return and added 2 tackles on defense, sharing a sack for a safety with Brian Salinas. Gunner Mann snagged a pass from Thomas Fowler and scored from 13 yards out. Chris Munoz and Patrick Phillips both caught touchdown passes from Chance Bush for 36 and 22 yards respectively. Trevor Tinney went 3 of 4 in the point after touchdown kicking department for 6 points and Stanley Buttler added 1 kick for 2 points to complete the scoring for the Coyotes. Defensively, ten Coyotes received credit for tackles in the game. Brian Salinas led the Coyotes with 4 tackles, 2.5 behind the line for losses and shared the safety with Ty Mann. Thomas Fowler added 4 tackles and Stanley Buttler made the most of his playing time with 3 tackles including 2 solo. Gunner Mann, Chance Bush, Storm Teel, all contributed multiple tackles. Trevor Tinney, Jonathan Patino and Jacob Cohn all were credited with tackles. Jacob Cohn stole an interception from Chance Bush with a diving catch on the Patriots opening offensive series. The hometown Richland Springs fans, accustomed to short games and exciting 6-man football, were not disappointed on Thursday night. The 2012 # 1 ranked Coyotes looked ready for the challenge of another State Title quest. Five Championships in eight years, the last two back-to-back...could it be...number three? Coach Thomas Tipton joins future Hall of Fame Head Coach Jerry Burkhart and Offensive Wizard/Coordinator Shawn Rogers for 2012. Coach Tipton played football at Angelo State and six-man football at Water Valley. He will be the “eyes in the sky”, manning the press box, and giving the on-field coaches very important input from a birds-eye perspective. His duties this year will also include Head Track Coach and Head Girls Basketball Coach. Welcome Coach!!! The Coyotes will travel to Cherokee this week to resume their long running Hatfield and McCoy feud. The Indians are no longer District rivals due to realignment but the bragging rights for San Saba County are definitely on the line. So come on out, bring your noise makers and support your favorite team. Go Coyotes Go !!!!