First game signals football season of change


Neveah Jones

The Coppell football team runs out after halftime against Allen on Sept. 13, 2019. The Cowboys face Mesquite tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at E.H. Hanby Stadium for their first game of the season.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

The Coppell football team faces Mesquite at E.H. Hanby Stadium tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. in its first game of the season, and just as many other things this year – it will be a bit different.

Despite a scrimmage last Friday against Mesquite Horn – where Coppell earned a 17-14 victory – tomorrow marks the first official game the team has played since last fall. Spring football was canceled due to COVID-19, which meant the loss of a major developmental period. 

“Spring football is essential to preparing for the fall,” Coppell coach Michael DeWitt said. “You can do a lot of things with the skill positions without spring football, like 7-on-7 and summer skills work where you’re just in shorts and T-shirts. The biggest thing spring football does is help those offensive linemen, those tight ends, those defensive linemen, those linebackers – those guys that are in the trenches that have to block and get off blocks.”

The difficulty of simulating contact in prior practice defined the emphasis for this week. 

“[We have been working on] tackling and blocking because before that, we didn’t really work on a lot of it because of COVID,” Coppell junior wide receiver Anthony Black said. “Now that it’s the season, I know the defense has been working on a lot of tackling this week, and the receivers also started doing blocking drills and working on our blocking against the defense.”

In addition to District 6-6A’s realignment changing the opponents for the upcoming season, another major adjustment for the Cowboys is the series of coronavirus protocols. 

Extensive sanitation and limiting the locker and weight rooms to waves and small groups have shaped football operations. Helmets with visors and splash guards are being implemented for gameplay. 

“I’ve told our kids that our toughest opponent this year is COVID, and I mean that,” DeWitt said. “Just trying to stay healthy and get to Friday night, it seems like it could be a challenge…The thing you have to do is control what you can off the field and then once you get to practice or a game, it’s a contact sport, so that’s the nature of the game. All the things outside of practices and games are the things we had to try and mitigate.” 

While working with a young team last season, Coppell has more experienced players heading into this year against Mesquite. 

“They’re a very good football team, you can tell they’re very well coached,” DeWitt said. “They’re very athletic, they have a lot of team speed. It seems they have a lot of guys coming back from last year. That head coach [Jeff Fleener], I’ve known him for quite a while, he’s a really good football coach, and they’re going to be a really good football team.”

Twitter coverage will be done via livestream.  

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