Coppell fights through comeback efforts by Wildcats

“Grab it!” The entire Denton Guyer football team’s sideline shouted with 4:10 remaining in Friday’s Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district playoffs at Buddy Echols field. Madness ensued as the onside kick was touched by Coppell, and Guyer recovered the football trailing by two touchdowns. 

With the ball on Guyer’s 42-yard line, Guyer junior quarterback Isaac Harney, who had taken over for senior quarterback Logan McGlaughlin, methodically drove down the field with a 12-yard pass, a four-yard rush, and a 37-yard dart to senior wide receiver Kegan Stelmazewski. 

With merely five yards left to bring the game to one score, strangeness ensued after an incomplete pass and an offensive pass interference. The Wildcats then ran the same play two more times, followed by a false start, and then on fourth down, they ran the same play. 

With the defense standing tall all four times, the Cowboys offense trotted onto the field with 2:25 left on the clock, ending the game with a 74-yard sprint by senior running back Xavier Mosely, who was a few yards short of the endzone. 

Coppell ended its six-year drought of playoff wins, winning against the No. 23-ranked Guyer 35-21. 

An exceptional performance by junior quarterback Edward Griffin, throwing for 353 yards and five touchdowns, and senior wide receiver Baron Tipton receiving for 201 yards and a touchdown, helped Coppell overcome Guyer..

The game started off with Guyer winning the toss and electing to receive. Guyer started off strong with a 38-yard pass by McGlaughlin to Stelmazewski. Guyer started the questionable plays early after a false start, two rushes for a combined three yards, another false start, and an incomplete pass. On 4th and 17 in field goal range, Guyer’s offense stayed on the field and didn’t convert the pass. 

The Cowboys came onto the field looking to capitalize early, putting together a methodical 9-play, 80-yard drive in two minutes and 39 seconds, capped off with a four-yard touchdown pass from Griffin to senior wide receiver Luca Grisoli. 

Nine seconds later, sophomore wide receiver Corbin Glasco found himself sprinting to the endzone untouched, tying the game. 

After that, it was all Coppell. 

Coppell yet again responded with another methodical drive. This drive, including a 33-yard strike to junior wide receiver Tucker Cusano, took seven plays and 57 yards in two minutes and 44 seconds, ending with a five-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Aryion Sneed. 

After a solid drive from the Wildcats, they could not convert on fourth down, this one being two yards. 

The Cowboys faced a 3rd and 9 scenario at their own six yard line. Griffin, dropping back, finds Tipton and throws a heavily contested ball, which Tipton miraculously comes down with, sprinting 75 yards before getting tackled. Two plays later, Griffin finds Grisoli in the endzone for 15 yards, scoring 21-7.

“Whenever the ball is in the air, I know that I am going to try and get it,” Tipton said. “I make sure that I fight for every ball even if it seems impossible to catch.”

After three punts in a row and an interception thrown by Griffin, the Wildcats could not convert, ending the half. 

The Cowboys started the second half with a five-yard rush followed by a 68-yard touchdown by Tipton, concluding the 53-second drive. 

The Wildcats would not go down quickly, though, putting together a 10-play, 59-yard drive of their own, featuring seven rushes by sophomore Kaedyn Cobbs and a trick play to Stelmazewski from senior wide receiver Josiah Martin for the three-yard touchdown, making the score 28-14. 

The Wildcats still needed to be done, forcing a turnover on downs trying to come within one score. After an excellent start to the drive, junior linebacker Weston Polk sacked McGlaughlin. After an incomplete pass and a six-yard rush, the Wildcats faced 4th and 9th. McGlaughlin scrambles out of the pocket and overthrows his receiver, with the ball falling right into the hands of junior safety Scott Fishpaw. 

The Cowboys had one more impressive drive, 12 plays, and 93 yards, taking six minutes and 10 seconds. After converting on fourth down, Griffin finds Sneed three plays later in the endzone for a 12-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach for the Wildcats. 

“As a team, we know that this is all-or-nothing football,” Tipton said. “We want to continue to play football, and every time we go, we have to go one and zero.”

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