Written by Matt Wixon
Coppell's biggest loss of the season derails hopes of repeat title
GEORGETOWN — Coppell hoped to bring home its second straight Class 5A state title. Instead, it brought out the best in Fort Bend Clements on Saturday.
Clements scored early, and its defense was fantastic as it knocked off the defending champions, 3-0, at Birkelbach Field.
“I’ve got to give credit to Fort Bend. They were unbelievable,” Coppell coach Chad Rakestraw said. “I think, honestly, they played about as perfect as they could.”
The result was painful for Coppell (22-2-2), which hadn’t lost a match to a Texas team all year. The Cowboys were shut out for just the second time this season and allowed three goals for the first time.
“They were able to get on us early, which was huge,” Rakestraw said, “and they played stellar defense.”
Clements (23-2-3) scored 19 minutes in when Kevin Matthews’ throw-in was headed into the net by Santiago Padruno. Coppell was only a goal back until the 23-minute mark of the second half when Alejandro Saez scored on a left-footed blast from 18 yards. Clements added a third goal in the final minute.
Coppell had six shots on goal to five for Clements, and the Cowboys’ nine corner kicks — to just one for Clements — showed their aggressiveness. But Coppell, which had scored multiple goals 21 times this season, couldn’t get on the board.
Coppell had several close misses, including a shot that hit the crossbar. With 27 minutes left, forward Chris Madden drilled a shot from 25 yards that momentarily looked like it would tie the match at 1-1. But Madden, who was the hero of last year’s come-from-behind win in the state championship, was denied the equalizer when goalkeeper Daniel Namani dived to his left and made a dramatic save.
“It’s a little tough. You hit the post a couple times and a couple bounces don’t go your way,” Rakestraw said. “The guys gave everything they could.”