Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: New No. 1? Coppell stays unbeaten, shocks Allen in overtime
COPPELL — After two of the state’s most physical teams battled for nearly three hours Friday night, Coppell senior receiver Cameron Smith saw the ball sailing toward him. If he pulled it in, Coppell would have an overtime victory over Allen, the area’s top-ranked team.
“My mind was blank, honestly,” Smith said of that moment. “I was just thinking of God, and how I was so happy to have the opportunity.”
Smith seized the opportunity, and the ball, for a 23-yard touchdown that gave Coppell a 27-24 overtime victory at Buddy Echols Field.
“This is a huge change of mindset for the whole state,” said Smith, who finished with six catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns. “Now we just have to maintain and keep going and show it’s not unexpected.”
A loss by Allen (4-1) might surprise some, but a fierce battle was certainly expected. Coppell (5-0), No. 4 in the area rankings, and Allen had blown out their first four opponents.
Coppell took a 13-0 lead in the first half, but Allen rallied to take a 21-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Kyler Murray ran 51 yards for a touchdown that capped the Eagles’ 21 straight points. Coppell responded with a 78-yard drive that ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Colby Mahon to Smith, and Luke Jenner ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game.
Allen got the ball first in overtime and had a first-and-goal at the 1 after a 12-yard run by Murray. But Murray was stuffed on first down and Marcus Ward couldn’t get in the end zone on second down.
On third down, Allen was flagged for delay of game to bring up third-and-6. Murray threw to Troy Knudsen on the left side of the end zone, but although Knudsen made the catch, he couldn’t get a foot inbounds.
Allen settled for a 23-yard field goal, creating a winning opportunity for Coppell, which dominated most of the first half. The Cowboys went on three long drives that ate up nearly 15 minutes of the first two quarters — and that was before Allen even managed a first down.
Coppell smashed through Allen’s defense on its first three drives, when running back Gavin McDaniel (20 rushes for 116 yards) was especially impressive. But late in the first half, with Coppell leading 13-0 and driving back into Allen territory, Eagles defensive lineman Marcus Davis recovered a Mahon fumble.
The big play seemed to turn on the lights for Allen. The Eagles, who had 14 yards of offense at that point, drove 58 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 13-7 at the half. A Murray 4-yard touchdown gave Allen its first lead, 14-13, with 1:12 left in the third quarter.
It was the first time Coppell had trailed all season. But after Allen extended the lead to 21-13, Coppell turned the seesaw game back its way. Smith was key to that, catching the touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to get an opportunity for the game-winner.
Moments after he pulled in the final pass, he was swarmed by teammates and Coppell fans.
“It was such a great feeling,” Smith said. “No words can describe it.”
Allen lost running back Jeff Harris to a leg injury early in the game.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.