Coyotes to face No. 2 Calvert next week in regional final

GATESVILLE —The top-ranked Richland Springs Coyotes passed their toughest test to date and kept their goal of an eighth state championship alive with their 26th consecutive victory, 78-43 over the No. 4 Milford Bulldogs in Division II-A Region IV semifinal action Friday night.

Richland Springs (11-0) advances to meet No. 2 Calvert (12-0) — a 72-24 victor over Iredell Thursday — for the Region IV championship next week. Calvert is the last team to claim a victory over the Coyotes, ending their 2014 playoff run.

In Friday’s win over Milford (10-2), Richland Springs relied heavily on its offense as the Coyotes amassed 485 total yards — 423 on the ground and 62 through the air.

Walker Tippie paced the Richland Springs attack with 289 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while Hutton Lusty contributed 122 yards and two scores on the ground. Jordan Burkhart also tacked on 24 yards and reached the end zone once.

Through the air, Tippie completed 2 of 3 passes for 40 yards while Burkhart was 1 of 2 with a 22-yard completion. Cameron Parham grabbed the 40-yard pass while Tippie hauled in a 22-yard reception.

Defensively, the Coyotes were allowing just 5 points and 109 yards per game for the season as no team had mustered more than two touchdowns in a contest. But Milford generated 403 yards — 277 through the air and 126 on the ground — and extended the game through the full four quarters.

Lusty finished with 15 tackles, including six for loss, to lead the Richland Springs defense while Parham collected seven and intercepted a pass — one of three takeaways for the Coyotes. Richland Springs has forced 31 turnovers through 11 games and has yet to turn the ball over this season.

Richland Springs led 24-8 after the first quarter on touchdown runs of 1 and 57 yards by Tippie and a 59-yard jaunt by Lusty. The Coyotes extended their lead to 40-22 at halftime as Lusty rumbled into the end zone from 33 yards out and Tippie added a 14-yard scoring sprint.

Through three periods, the Coyotes’ cushion reached 62-30 as Tippie added scoring carries of 12 and 8 yards, while Burkhart found the end zone on a 17-yard scamper.

The Coyotes tacked on two more touchdowns in the fourth period on a 49-yard Tippie sprint and a pick six by Parham.