Coppell starts season with big bang against Longview

Coppell starts season with big bang against Longview

By John Loop
Staff Writer

“Coppell’s back, Coppell’s back!”

Senior quarterback Colby Mahon (12) embraces junior running back Gavin McDaniel (4) before their game versus Longview. Mahon threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns, while McDaniel ran for 84 yards on 21 carries. Photo by Mia Ford.

Those were the chants of the Cowboy student section after the Cowboys steamrolled the Lobos from Longview High School, 41-8, in the thirteenth annual Tom Landry Classic.

Senior quarterback Colby Mahon completed nine of 11 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those passes went to senior wide receiver Cameron Smith who caught four passes for 145 yards.

Junior running back Gavin McDaniel also chipped in 84 yards on 21 carries.

The new Coppell offense debuted on their opening offensive possession, but stalled and was forced to punt.

Longview marched the ball downfield on a quick 17-yard strike from senior QB Bivins Caraway. But the tide turned with the first of two fumbles in the opening half recovered by senior linebacker Tanner Masters.

“We knew that it was going to have come down to the defense,“ Masters said. “The offense is still pretty new. Defense had always been Coppell’s thing. We were just sure to come out strong and do our thing.”

Just under a minute later, Mahon led Coppell to their first scoring drive of the 2012 season. A 45-yard deep pass to Cameron Smith made the score 7-0 Coppell with five minutes and change left in the first quarter, Mahon’s first touchdown pass as a Cowboy.

“It was definitely a change,” Mahon said, when asked about playing in a big game atmosphere. “Not what I am used from 3A coming up to 5A, but my first game was awesome. I loved every second of it.”

Masters and the defense kept their ears pinned back as they continuously pressured Caraway into making mistakes, which included another fumble.

Gavin McDaniel started off the second quarter with a smooth 20-yard run, but the drive stalled after that. Later in the quarter, sophomore defensive back Troy Parker intercepted a Caraway pass and returned it 55 yards.

The play was originally ruled a touchdown, but officials reversed the call, saying he was pushed out at the 1 yard line. Sophomore running back Charles West then proceeded to power in for the one yard score.

The Lobos then produced their biggest offensive gain of the night, a 55-yard rumble by junior running back Tory White, on the next possession. White was stopped at the Cowboy 35.

The two teams traded punts, but then the scoring started pouring on. In just two plays, Mahon again drove the Cowboys 69 yards down the field, capping off with a 61-yard toss to senior wide receiver Jacob Logan. The score at halftime was 21-0 in favor of the Cowboys.

Longview’s Caraway would not return to the field after an injury in the first half would force him to stay on the sidelines for the rest of the game. Junior Stephon Dunn took his place, completing two of five passes for 49 yards and the lone touchdown of the night.

After halftime, Mahon, McDaniel and the offense scored on another two-play drive, this time covering 93 yards, McDaniel took a direct snap in what looked like a “Wildcat” formation for a short two-yard gain. Mahon, then hooked up with Smith again for his third scoring pass of the night and a 28-0 lead.

“He [Smith] is a playmaker,” Mahon said of top target Smith. “Plays are called to his side and I trust him.”

Later in the third quarter, Logan took the handoff and walked in from one yard out to push the score to 34-0. However, junior kicker Adam Centers extra point try was blocked and returned all the way to the end zone by Longview’s senior safety Nakia Brown to halt the shutout.

“[Defense] is our standard,” head coach Joe McBride said when asked about the play of the defensive unit.  “We played great defense. We have always had a great defense.“

Mahon finished off Coppell’s outburst with a 12-yard scoring strike to senior tight end Josh Self.

The offense looked flawless in their execution of the new playbook. The defense played with fire in their eyes. If the Cowboys keep this kind of play up, they will surely be a lock for the playoffs.

“I feel good about our kids,” McBride said. “If we can stay healthy and stay hungry, that will be good.”