Written by Tommy Cummings
Coppell holds Denton Ryan without a second-half first down in 28-3 win
COPPELL — Coppell running back Gavin McDaniel can never hear “Victory March,” the iconic Notre Dame fight song, played enough.
The 5-9, 170-pound senior heard the marching band strike up the school fight song a few times Friday night as playoff-bound Coppell rolled to a 28-3 District 5-5A victory over Denton Ryan.
Hearing the song is especially gratifying for McDaniel because his brother Cam also hears it on Saturdays while playing for Notre Dame.
“It’s nice because I get to hear it Friday and Saturday,” said McDaniel, who’s drawing recruiting interest from Air Force and Cornell.
The song blared loudly after two of McDaniel’s first-quarter plays provided the impetus for No. 5 Coppell (7-1, 4-0) to establish control against No. 18 Ryan (6-2, 2-2).
McDaniel sprinted 61 yards the first time he touched the ball, finishing off a 92-yard drive with a 7-yard run minutes later. Later in the quarter, he caught a 54-yard scoring pass from quarterback Skyler Bonneau to give Coppell a two-touchdown lead.
“It’s my senior night, and above everything tonight, I wanted to make an impact,” said McDaniel, who rushed for 114 yards, mostly on sweeps. “Every time I got the ball, I had the mindset of getting as many yards as I can and make [things] happen.”
The Coppell defense bent but didn’t break in the first half. In the second half, Coppell didn’t bend at all, forcing four three-and-outs and allowing no first downs.
“They made better adjustments,” Ryan coach Joey Florence said.
In the second quarter, Ryan pieced together a 13-play drive, converting a third-and-19 with a 21-yard run by Tyrone Williams. But the drive got bogged down, and Marc Orozco kicked a 25-yard field goal with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, Ryan put together a 10-play drive from its 19. Williams’ hard running got Ryan to the Coppell 23 where Orozco attempted missed a 40-yard field goal. But Coppell’s 6-4 defensive lineman Solomon Thomas broke through the middle of the line and got his hand on the kick with 1:54 before halftime.
While its defense was shutting down Ryan in the second half, Coppell put together two sustained drives to put the game out of reach.
In the third quarter, Bonneau completed a 12-play, 74-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring pass to tight end Connor Williams. In the fourth, Brandon Rice was the workhorse on an eight-play, 48-yard drive, scoring on a seven-yard run.
The loss denied Ryan an outright playoff berth. Next week, Ryan hosts Flower Mound in another district game.
Follow Tommy Cummings on Twitter at @tommycummings.