Season of resurgence ends with loss to McKinney

First half deficit too much for Cowboys to overcome in playoff defeat.


Olivia Short

Junior linebacker Amari’a Wiley tackles McKinney senior quarterback Keldric Luster on a QB rush. McKinney defeated Coppell, 44-26, in the Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district playoffs on Friday at Buddy Echols Field. The Cowboys end the season 9-2.

Sahith Mocharla, Staff Writer

Five straight wins, four touchdowns, three scorers, two halves and one team – the Cowboys came to play – but alas the only numbers that mattered was a 44-26 victory by McKinney over Coppell on Friday at Buddy Echols Field in the Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district playoffs.

Despite carrying the momentum of five straight wins, the Cowboys ran headlong into the brick wall of McKinney’s line of scrimmage, and were unable to muster a response until it was too late.

“We got a warning about November and [eventually] December football games, we have to be able to push people around and be the most physical team on the field,” Coppell coach Antonio Wiley said. “We won a lot of games this year with finesse, we’ve got to be able to line up and put our hands in the dirt. Once we develop that, we’ll be ready for the playoffs.”

Midway through the second quarter, it looked as though the Cowboys had fought their way back into the game when the defense forced a fumble with  McKinney leading, 21-7. A fumble recovery could have given Coppell the momentum shift it needed, along with a short field. However, officials ruled forward progress had been stopped and the fumble was negated.

“That fumble – non-fumble – was huge,” Wiley said. “It was a huge momentum shift. We had a chance to make it a one score game, then it became three. It was probably the worst call of the game, but we have to deal with the inbuilt human error factor, no excuses.”

From there the game was over in quick succession, a field goal before the end of the second half followed by a touchdown run by McKinney’s Bryan Jackson to start the second half making the score 30-7, a lead too great for Coppell to come back from.

“ [Jackson] is a big, fast and physical back,” Coppell assistant Eric Hill said. “We just had to rally to him, get 11 [players] on him; unfortunately, we didn’t do that. Hats off to them, they’re a solid football team and this is where we’ll be back next year, doing what they did to us, to somebody else.”

However, the Cowboys displayed their fighting spirit, with senior wide receiver Zach Darkoch doing what he’s done all season – showing up when the Cowboys needed him – with a 60yard receiving touchdown to offer a glimmer of hope.

“I’m going to follow the example [the seniors] have set – be the example for everyone around me and lead the way they led.””

— Baron Tipton

“I can’t say enough about our seniors,” Wiley said. “They made this happen, this season was about this outstanding senior class, they willed us to a 9-1 [regular] season.”

Touchdowns by Coppell junior wide receivers Luca Grisoli and Baron Tipton closed out the scoring for Coppell.

“The loss hurts, but the biggest thing I’m losing is the relationships I’ve built with [the] seniors,” Tipton said. “It hurts, but we’ve just got to come back next year even stronger and follow the example the seniors left us.”

After the loss, the Cowboys were already looking ahead and how this season was a step in the right direction.

“[The seniors] led our turnaround from 4-6 to 9-1,” Tipton said. “We are going to continue the path they laid down for us to 16-0 next year.”

The coaches enter into the offseason focusing on the success and promise this season proved, not allowing this loss to define their season.

“It’s been a great ride,” Wiley said. “Our senior class made it special – they could’ve easily made this transition tough – but with the way they went about buying into the program, it was crucial. Everybody says ‘great job, coach’ but really our seniors and kids did a great job. Those kids jumped in with both feet and just bought into our new way. Next season, we’re going to get bigger and stronger. We saw what playoff football looks like and we have got to match that in the playoffs by marrying that weight room.”

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