17 unanswered second half points gives Coppell dramatic homecoming victory over Plano West (with video)


Sally Parampottil

Coppell senior offensive lineman Febechi Nwaiwu and junior wide receiver Anthony Black celebrate Black’s touchdown in the second quarter against Plano West last night at Buddy Echols Field. Coppell defeated Plano West, 31-20, in its annual Homecoming game.

Meer Mahfuz, Co-Sports Editor

The lights lay low. The wind plateaued and the chilly backdrop ushered in. The plethora of fans silent as the game drew on, knowing that time was not in their favor. The time on the clock read four minutes and it was late in the fourth when Coppell trailed Plano West by three.

Coppell needed a break, more than ever, to salvage any points against a seemingly impenetrable Plano West defense. 

Coppell not only got one big play but three big plays in three minutes to finish off the rally and close out the game, defeating Plano West, 31-20, on last night’s homecoming game at Buddy Echols Field.

All hope seemed to be lost when Coppell senior quarterback Ryan Walker, on second and nine at the Plano West 41 yard line, was blitzed by multiple defensive players for Plano West (3-2, 1-1) and was expected to be sacked for a loss of many yards.

Except he didn’t. He ran faked right and ran left, saw his lane get blocked by many collapsing Plano West defenders, spun out of a tackle, turned right and sprinted the open space with all he had left in him.

As Walker was charging on the sideline towards an unblocked endzone, Plano West desperately needed to take him down. From the side, a Plano West defender lunged at Walker but grabbed hold of his collar and brought him down. 

“I knew I had to make a play, they blitzed through the line, our guys were a little late getting there and I had to scramble to make something happen,” Walker said. “It worked out in our favor, it was huge and it was a blessing, God looking down on me.” 

Walker’s scramble and the 15-yard penalty on Plano West energized the Coppell fans and the Coppell Band, turning the stadium from eerily silent to an eardrum-breaking atmosphere as Coppell (4-1 overall, 2-2 in District 6-6A) set down what would be the game winning drive.


“There’s a ton of fans here, we feed off of their energy,” Walker said. “We make a play, they get loud, we make another one. Tonight was definitely a home field advantage and I couldn’t be more happy.”

The drive ended with a touchdown reception for Coppell senior wide receiver KJ Liggins where he had to muscle his way through two Plano West (3-2, 1-1) tackles after being swarmed by defenders to make it to the endzone. Coppell took the lead, 24-20, with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter. 

“I was just telling myself ‘I’m going to score, I’m going to score’ and I scored because we really needed it and I needed to help my team win,” Liggins said. “I came up big with the big play.”

The game was sealed after Coppell senior defensive back Canon Peters intercepted Plano West senior quarterback Greg Draughn, returning it for 32 yards and setting up a touchdown run for Coppell senior running back Jason Ngwu with 1:21 left in the fourth quarter.

“[Coppell coach Michael DeWitt] was saying that we need to get the ball back because we need to not give points up and we knew that pass was coming so I pass-dropped and the ball happened to come, it was a huge momentum change,” Peters said. “I was big, once I had that ball, I was focused on holding onto it so the offense could get the ball and put one in.” 

Early on, however, Coppell did struggle offensively with three turnovers. Two interceptions from Walker, on Coppell’s first drive of each half by Plano West senior Tyler Harrel, and a forced fumble on Coppell junior wide receiver Dylan Nelson by Plano West senior linebacker Trevor Sessions with 59 seconds remaining in the first half. 

Plano West hit early with a field goal with 8:21 learning in the first quarter and rode a strong offensive performance led by Draughn and Plano West sophomore running back Dermot White (in for injured Plano West senior running back Tabren Yates). 

“Even though we had some turnovers and they had some explosive plays on offense, [the game] wasn’t even close,” DeWitt said. “We had great focus, our kids came out and played really hard and our kids responded a whole lot better to some of the mishaps. [After Plano West’s field goal after the interception] I was proud of how the guys responded.”  

With Plano West having an area-ranked scoring defense and Coppell having an area-ranked offense, these two phases of each team went at it throughout the entire game. With Plano West’s defense having a dominant first half performance and Coppell’s offense responding with a stronger second half performance that proved to be too much for Plano West to sustain. 

Additionally, Plano West limited Walker and Coppell’s offense to 297 total yards in the game, the first time a team has managed to limit Coppell’s offense to below 300 total yards in the season.

“We had to be patient [to penetrate Plano West’s defense], they were doing a really good job by bringing heavy pressure on some passing downs, but we had to be able to run the football even though they were bringing extra people and our kids did a good job at doing that,” DeWitt said. “It was one of those deals where you just had to stay with it and we had to make some big conversions in the pass game on third down when we needed it, and we did. Overall just really pleased.” 

On Friday, Coppell will take on area-ranked Marcus at 7 p.m. on Buddy Echols Field. The winner will be in prime position to earn a playoff berth and a shot at the District 6-6A championship as Coppell and Marcus are two of the remaining undefeated teams in the district alongside Hebron. 

Follow Meer (@meer_mahfuz) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.