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October 26, 2023

Cowboy fight lives to see another day

Coppell advances to area playoffs after defeating Wildcats
Ainsley Dwyer
Coppell junior quarterback Edward Griffin scans for an open receiver before completing a pass to junior wide receiver Tucker Cusano for a first down during the first quarter against Denton Guyer in the Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district playoffs at Buddy Echols Field on Friday. The Cowboys defeated the Wildcats, 35-21, to advance to the area playoffs on Thursday with Dallas Jesuit.

As the Denton Guyer football team took the field for the first quarter last night, it broke through a poster reading “Round one: Get ready Coppell, you’re about to be DONE.” 

The Wildcats stood corrected by the end of the night. 

On Friday, Coppell defeated the Wildcats, 35-21, in the Class 6A Division II Region I bi-district playoffs at Buddy Echols Field. The Cowboys (11-0) advance to the Class 6A Division II Region I area playoffs for the first time since 2017 where they will play Dallas Jesuit (8-3) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Ford Center in Frisco.

“The coach in me says ‘let’s go to next week’ but I’m going to let our kids enjoy this,” Coppell coach Antonio Wiley said. “This is a big win for the program, for the community and I couldn’t be more ecstatic for our fans, players and coaching staff.”

Time ticks down in the fourth quarter, the numbers 2:48 illuminating on the scoreboard. 10 yards away from the endzone and on its fourth down, Denton Guyer (7-4) is two touchdowns away from tying the game. 

Guyer junior quarterback Isaac Harney dashes out of the pocket and finds senior wide receiver Kegan Stelmazewski making a run to the far left corner of the endzone but tightly covered by Coppell junior linebacker Weston Polk. Harney throws to Stelmazewski but the ball deflects off Polk’s helmet instead and spirals into the air, up for grabs. 

Pandemonium ensues as three Guyer players and six Coppell players crash in on each other, battling for the ball. In the chaos, the ball drops to the ground and bounces out of bounds, Coppell now taking over on offense and Guyer’s fate sealed. 

Coppell ran out the clock in the final minutes and the game ended before the horn resounded throughout the stadium. 

After the post-game handshake, the Cowboys sprinted back to Coppell’s student section as students rushed to meet the team on the field. 

DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win” blasted over the speakers as the team and student section celebrated in an impenetrable crowd jumping in unison.  

Both teams were tied 7-7 at the beginning of the game, but Coppell senior wide receiver Ayrion Sneed caught a pass in the endzone from Coppell junior quarterback Edward Griffin, the Cowboys leading with a 14-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.  

Coppell senior wide receiver Luca Grusoli scored prior to halftime, extending Coppell’s lead to 21-7, the Cowboys shutting out Guyer from scoring in the second quarter. 

Less than 30 seconds into the third quarter, Griffin connected with senior wide receiver Baron Tipton on a 68-yard touchdown pass for the Cowboys, to give Coppell a 21-point lead. 

Stelmazewski scored for Guyer with 7:22 remaining in the third quarter, the Wildcats reducing Coppell’s lead to 28-14. 

The Cowboys scored next through a 12-yard rushing touchdown by senior wide receiver Ayrion Sneed  but Guyer responded less than two minutes later, sophomore running back DJ Black scoring a touchdown with 4:10 left on the clock. 

“I have no doubt that our kids are going to battle,” Wiley said. “I have never seen any quit in their eyes. Our kids know nothing but to compete and find a way to win and that’s what they are doing. They say that they take on their head coach’s mentality and I’m fiery all the time–our kids are bringing it all the time. I love them and I’m happy to go along for the ride with these guys.”

Follow Ava (@avakjohnson4) and @SidekickSports on X.

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About the Contributors
Ava Johnson
Ava Johnson, Sports Assignment Editor
Ava is a senior and the sports assignment editor for The Sidekick. If she’s not working on a piece, you can find her reading, spending time with loved ones, or listening to music. You can contact her at [email protected], or through Instagram at (@heylolitsava).
Ainsley Dwyer
Ainsley Dwyer, Entertainment Editor
Ainsley Dwyer is a junior and the entertainment editor of The Sidekick. In her free time, you can find her hanging out with her friends, listening to dad music, watching her favorite movies, or hanging out with her dogs. She is a raging theatre kid and will sing showtunes at any given moment if it pops into her mind. You can email her at [email protected].

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