Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: D is difference in battle of unbeatens as Allen routs Coppell
ALLEN — A few minutes after kickoff Friday, fans were told that buying a ticket wouldn’t guarantee them one of the 18,000 seats at Eagle Stadium. For the rest of the night, it would be standing room only.
And for the rest of the game, one team would stand tall.
Led by a defense that took the punch out of Coppell’s physical running game, Allen rolled to a 31-10 victory in a matchup of undefeated heavyweights.
“We knew it was going to be a war in the trenches,” said Allen senior linebacker Christian Sam. “We worked hard all week in practice and came out here ready for a war.”
Allen (5-0), which is No. 2 in the area Class 5A rankings, looked ready for anything as it avenged last year’s loss to No. 4 Coppell (3-1). And in the Eagles’ final tuneup for district play, the defending 5A Division I state champions showed that defense revs their motor.
On the first play from scrimmage, Allen stuffed Coppell running back Charles West, the ball popped free and the Eagles recovered. The tone was set for the game, which the Allen defense controlled despite two Coppell running backs — West and Gavin McDaniel — rushing for more than 100 yards.
McDaniel rushed 19 times for 115 yards, and West rushed 17 times for 113 yards. But it didn’t matter. Allen’s defense sacked and hurried Coppell quarterback Skyler Bonneau all night, and the Eagles batted down passes and kept Coppell out of the end zone until there were only four minutes left.
The game had been decided long before then.
Allen, which is behind DeSoto in the area rankings but No. 1 in the state poll, broke the game open with the help of three big pass plays in the first half.
The first was a 39-yard pass from Kyler Murray to Josh Pettijohn, who got open on a seam route and broke a tackle to get in the end zone and give Allen a 10-0 lead with 7:05 left in the first quarter. Pettijohn finished with five catches for 86 yards.
Coppell punted after three running plays, and then Murray connected with Grant Finney on a 53-yard pass that extended the first-quarter lead to 17-0. Murray finished 10-of-15 for 212 yards, and the junior also ran for a score.
Early in the second quarter, Murray threw deep down the left sideline and Jalen Guyton hauled in a 48-yard completion before somersaulting forward. That was part of an 80-yard drive that ended with Tay Evans, a linebacker and short-yardage running specialist, plowing into the end zone to give Allen a 24-0 lead.
Allen had all the points it would need on its Homecoming night.
“The thing we concentrated on this week was being ready to play,” Allen coach Tom Westerberg said. “We were flat last year, didn’t come out ready to play, and they got some long drives against us.”
There were few long drives for Coppell on Friday. But Allen’s performance again showed that it’s capable of another long drive into the playoffs.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.
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