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October 26, 2023

Cowboys playoff run cut short by Bobcats

Byron Nelson defeats Coppell in regional semifinals
Kayla Nguyen
The Coppell football team sings the alma mater after losing to Byron Nelson in the Class 6A Division II Region I semifinals. Byron Nelson defeated the Cowboys, 52-45, at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington on Saturday.

ARLINGTON – Eight seconds left, one chance. Coppell’s stands watch with bated breath, hoping for a miraculous play to tie the game. The ball is snapped and Coppell junior quarterback Edward Griffin launches the ball 37 yards into the end zone for one last hail mary. 

The ball flies just left of Coppell senior wide receiver Baron Tipton and Byron Nelson senior David Kabongo swats the ball to the ground. Before the pass can even be announced as incomplete, the Byron Nelson football team floods onto the field, celebrating its victory. 

After having a perfect record this season, the Coppell football team took its first loss to Byron Nelson on Saturday. The Bobcats (13-0) defeated Coppell (12-1), 52-45, in the Class 6A Division II Region I semifinals at Choctaw Stadium.

Byron Nelson plays Southlake Carroll (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Choctaw Stadium in the regional finals.  

“I felt like we were going to make a play like we’ve done all year,” Coppell coach Antonio Wiley said. “It was two giants in 6A fighting for it all, neither team wanted to give up and it came down to a game of mistakes. We made a few more mistakes than they made so they won.”

The teams were tied 3-3 by the end of the first quarter and again at 10-10 in the second but by the end of the half, Byron Nelson was ahead 17-10 over Coppell, a lead that never faltered.  

Seven touchdowns were scored in the fourth quarter, four by Coppell and three by Byron Nelson. 

Early in the fourth with 9:02 left on the clock, Coppell junior Weston Polk recovered and returned a Byron Nelson fumble 58 yards for a touchdown, the Cowboys decreasing the Bobcat’s lead to 31-24. 

Byron Nelson senior Pierce Dahlin scored a 15-yard receiving touchdown less than three minutes later and Coppell fumbled the following kickoff return, recovered by Byron Nelson senior Blayne Johnson. 

Coppell junior cornerback Seth Carethers intercepts a pass to Byron Nelson junior Ezra Malamura in front of the Byron Nelson end zone. Byron Nelson defeated the Cowboys in the Class 6A Division II Region I semifinals, 52-45, at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington on Saturday. (Kayla Nguyen)

The Bobcats scored again 55 seconds later, a two-yard receiving touchdown by senior Landon Farco. Rain began sprinkling down onto the field and fans from both sides began to leave as the Bobcats’ touchdown siren wailed. 

However, the Cowboys fight continued to persevere, with Coppell scoring the next two touchdowns and making it a seven-point game once again, 45-38 Byron Nelson and leaving 2:15 on the clock.    

The Bobcats advanced down the field to the 47 yard line, on its third down with five yards to go, 1:24 remaining. Byron Nelson quarterback Tom Von Grote connected with Farco, Farco then darting between Coppell’s defense to the end zone and extending the Bobcats’ lead to 52-38. 

But the game wasn’t over there. The Cowboys stood at the one-yard line, 17 seconds ticking down on the clock. Coppell senior running back Xavier Mosley received the handoff from Griffin and dove over the entire pile, scoring the final touchdown of the night, leaving the score at 52-45. 

“This team doesn’t know how to quit,” Wiley said. “We’re going to play to the end; that’s why I love these guys.”

For 13 games, the Coppell football team has proven its grit and strength, advancing to the third round of playoffs for the first time since 2017. 

“We did a good job of setting the foundation this year, but now it’s time to move forward,” Wiley said. “It wouldn’t be possible without our seniors, but the bottom line is we have to go to next year now.”

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).
Kayla Nguyen
Kayla Nguyen, Executive Photography Editor
Kayla is a junior and the Executive Photography Editor for The Sidekick. She loves music and trying out new coffee shops with friends. Kayla loves taking photos and is especially a fan of sports photography. Outside of The Sidekick she loves running her digital camera instagram account (@kaylasdigicams) and going to work.

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