Win or go home

Coppell plays Flower Mound in must-win for both teams


Torie Peck

Plano East senior linebacker Kay Oliver tackles Coppell senior running back Dylan Nelson at Buddy Echols Field on Oct. 29. The Cowboys play Flower Mound in a must-win or go home clash at Neil E. Wilson Stadium on Friday, with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Meer Mahfuz, Staff Writer

Regardless of the ups-and-downs and regardless of the wins-and-losses, the Coppell football team’s upcoming contest is the most important game the Cowboys play this season.

Friday’s District 6-6A clash against Flower Mound at Neil E. Wilson Stadium, with kickoff at 7 p.m., is a win or go home game for both the Cowboys and the Jaguars. 

“Everyone realizes the significance of the game, if they want to keep playing and have the season continue to another week, they have to win; everyone understands that and we’ve had a good week of practice so far,” Coppell coach Michael DeWitt said. “If you’re still in the hunt and control your own destiny at this point in the season, it’s a successful season. You have a great opportunity in front of you, the season isn’t over and you don’t need help from anybody; if you win, you get in and it’s a good place to be in.”

The Jaguars (4-5, 3-3 in District 6-6A), whose passing offense is the sixth best in the area and averages 267 yards per game, feature one of the most prolific wide receivers in the area. Flower Mound junior wide receiver Walker Mulkey has been near unstoppable this season, with 53 receptions for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns as the area’s second best wide receiver.

“Certainly, [Mulkey] is a really good player, they do a good job at getting him the ball and his stats show that; you can watch the film, he runs great routes, he catches everything and he blocks really well,” DeWitt said. “We are going to have to do several things [to mitigate his impact]; we’re going to have to disguise what we’re doing and we’re going to have to give them different looks.”

Flower Mound senior quarterback Nick Evers, a Florida commit, has thrown for 1,972 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions. Evers, a four-star and the eighth best quarterback in the nation, also leads the Jaguars’ rushing crew with 441 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Evers is red-hot right now as he has produced 13 total touchdowns in the last three games.

“[Evers] does a great job at scrambling so we certainly need to account for him,” DeWitt said. “We need to contain him; it’s going to take a great effort with guys closing down the ball, we have to have guys who can run him down.”

Based on the statistical similarity between the two teams, every single point will be crucial for the Cowboys, whether it be on offense, defense or special teams.

“There are some similarities offensively and defensively [between us], they’ve got some really good players and they’re very well coached, they have good schemes,” DeWitt said. “We are going to have to play really well; special teams will be a big factor and will probably be the great equalizer. Anytime you have [junior kicker/punter Nic Radicic] that can punt really well so help flip the field and make an offense have to drive farther. Every point is going to matter in a game like this, where you can kick a long field goal if you have to, so it’s a big [help].”

For Coppell (4-5, 3-3), the stagnation in the level of offensive execution will be a cause for concern coming off the win against Plano East last week

The Cowboys have been inconsistent in executing and securing the ball throughout their season. Rebounding by executing on every play will be crucial to defeating the Jaguars.

“We’ve had a great year on offense considering how young we are and it’s awesome to see those young guys go out there and ball out,” Coppell senior quarterback Landry Fee said. “But, we know that a lot of our mistakes have been on us; why we’ve stopped in the second half has been due to penalties and mental errors on us, cleaning those up have been what we’ve really worked on.  

All three Plano schools – Plano Senior, Plano East and Plano West – have been eliminated from playoff contention. Marcus, Lewisville and Hebron have secured three of the four playoff spots. The winner of Coppell against Flower Mound will take the final playoff spot. The result of the contest will also impact which division Hebron goes into; a Coppell win places Hebron in Division II and a Flower Mound win moves Hebron into Division I.

“[This game] means a lot to me because it is the recap of everything I’ve done at Coppell High School and it would suck for it to come to an end so soon, so hopefully we can go out on Friday, compete and get the win,” Coppell senior safety Isaiah Nichols said.

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