Home opener ends in victory against Sachse

Coppell+senior+cornerback+Canon+Peters%2C+senior+outside+linebacker+Tim+O%E2%80%99Hearn%2C+junior+linebacker+Braydon+Watson+%28back%29%2C+senior+safety+Zach+Stricker+and+junior+outside+linebacker+Jack+McAdams+celebrate+Stricker%E2%80%99s+touchdown+from+a+45-yard+interception+return+on+Friday+at+Buddy+Echols+Field.+Coppell+defeated+Sachse%2C+42-35.+

Neveah Jones

Coppell senior cornerback Canon Peters, senior outside linebacker Tim O’Hearn, junior linebacker Braydon Watson (back), senior safety Zach Stricker and junior outside linebacker Jack McAdams celebrate Stricker’s touchdown from a 45-yard interception return on Friday at Buddy Echols Field. Coppell defeated Sachse, 42-35.

Sally Parampottil, Executive Editor-in-Chief

The band was seated on the visitors’ side. Spaced out and separate from the home crowd, it still provided the backtrack to the first football game at Buddy Echols Field of the season. 

And despite the masks and the distance, Coppell’s home opener was buzzing with energy.

After a comeback, pull away and retention of a lead, the Cowboys (2-0) defeated Sachse (0-1), 42-35.

“It was pretty exciting,” Coppell junior defensive back Isaiah Nichols said. “The band was playing; Friday Night Lights, everyone was there. It was pretty spectacular, and for a good game against a great team, it was pretty good.”

Despite Coppell holding a 28-14 lead with 6:29 in the third quarter following an interception return for a 45-yard touchdown from Coppell senior safety Zach Stricker, Sachse kept the game close. 

Back and forth touchdowns between Sachse, then Coppell with a 52-yard touchdown with a pass from senior quarterback Ryan Walker to junior running back Dylan Nelson with 1:26 in the third quarter, then Sachse on the first play of the fourth quarter, then Coppell with a 58-yard pass from Walker to senior wide receiver KJ Liggins with 10:51 in the game and a final rushing touchdown from Sachse with 5:04 ended the game. 

“It was fast, definitely going at a faster tempo,” Coppell junior defensive back Charlie Barker said. “We were definitely trying to fight back during the first half, but the second half, we had a bigger lead, and we were just trying to keep it.”

Following a missed field goal attempt on Coppell’s first possession of the game, the Mustangs scored first with a touchdown on their first possession, and the Cowboys had to play catch-up. Coppell equalized with a rush from senior running back Jason Ngwu with 3:04 in the first quarter, only for Sachse to score again with a 75-yard run on the next possession with 2:50 in the first quarter.

We beat a great team last night because we fought until the end, so that’s just going to keep motivating us to do better.”

— Coppell junior defensive back Isaiah Nichols

Two Coppell touchdowns from Walker to Liggins in the second quarter, one with 10:31 and the other with 6:54 left in the half, brought Coppell ahead of Sachse, 21-14, at halftime – a lead which would be grown and shrunk, but never lost. 

“We gave up an easy score first [possession] at the beginning of the game,” Nichols said. “We came out, we kept our heads up, we picked it up, we got stops throughout the game, our offense came out – scored the ball – [and] nobody hung their heads after a bad play. We just picked it up, and we kept pushing to the end.”   

The defense struggled at times with busted assignments, allowing long rushing gains and opening scoring opportunities for Sachse’s open receivers. 

“[Sachse junior quarterback Alex Orji] was able to make a lot of plays, which we aren’t used to,” Nichols said. “Going against a team like that with a quarterback like that, able to keep the play going, make a lot of plays – that kind of messed us up a little bit. We just [have] to stay disciplined on defense.”

Coppell coach Michael DeWitt was not concerned about last year’s close loss to Sachse entering Friday’s game.

“This is a new season and our mindset is that every week is a new week,” DeWitt said via email. “We just want to get to next Friday and go compete again. We were grateful we got to play this week.”

Coppell will take on Highland Park in its last non district game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Highlander Stadium. 

“We beat a great team last night because we fought until the end, so that’s just going to keep motivating us to do better,” Nichols said. “As far as our seniors, our season could be over at any minute, so I know they’re going to give us our all and we’re going to give them our all until our season is said and done.”

Follow Sally (@SParampottil) and @SidekickSports on Twitter.