Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: After painful week, Coppell honors teammate by holding off Flower Mound
FLOWER MOUND — Football teams often put stickers on their helmets to honor someone, but rarely are those stickers as large as the “21” that dominated the right side of the Coppell helmets Friday night. The Coppell coaches and players wanted it to be clear that Jacob Logan was a huge part of their team — and their lives.
But even without the helmet stickers, it would’ve been clear at Neal E. Wilson Stadium. Coppell, playing its first game since Logan died Sunday, didn’t look like the dominating team that won its first six games.
Coppell looked like what you might expect after a brutally painful, emotionally draining week. It was a passionate, but also tired, team that was happy to hold on for a 27-18 victory over Flower Mound.
“We played the way our week has been,” said Coppell coach Joe McBride. “It was hard to care about football. To be honest, football just didn’t mean that much to us this week.”
Logan, a senior who played safety and receiver, died after a cliff-jumping accident at Possum Kingdom Lake. Fans wore T-shirts in his honor, and the banners attached to the stands had messages such as “Play for J-Lo” and “Fight for J-Lo.”
Coppell (7-0, 2-0 in District 5-5A), No. 2 in the area Class 5A rankings, had to fight to stay undefeated. Flower Mound (3-4, 1-1) trailed 20-3 early, but cut the lead to 20-18 in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns in six minutes.
The first came when Connor Wanhanen scored on a 9-yard run to cut Coppell’s lead to 20-12 with 11:28 left. The score was set up by Flower Mound’s biggest play of the night: Wanhanen’s 54-yard pass to Cole McKeel.
Flower Mound scored on its next drive when McKeel took a bubble screen down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown with 5:02 left. Coppell lineman William Udeh pulled down Wanhanen before he could tie the score with a two-point conversion, but Flower Mound was in position for an upset if it could get a defensive stop.
That’s when Coppell put the game away by using a little trickery.
Facing a third-and-8 with 4:30 left, Coppell kept its drive alive with a reverse to Cameron Smith, who ran 51 yards to the Flower Mound 22-yard line. After the next three plays managed only 3 yards, Coppell receiver Henry Busch took a pitch and passed to Luke Jenner for a 19-yard touchdown with 2:41 left.
That was enough for Coppell to win its first game without Logan, whose football rise began as a sophomore, when he was a safety for the Coppell team that finished 13-1. He became a star as a junior, when he still played safety and was also Coppell’s leading receiver.
This season, Logan played safety, returned kicks, was a slot receiver and took snaps out of the Wildcat formation. He was the leader. The “bell cow,” as McBride liked to call him.
On Friday, Coppell answered the bell under the most difficult of circumstances.
“It was definitely tough,” Coppell defensive lineman Solomon Thomas said. “He was my best friend, my brother, my mentor. But I know he would’ve wanted us to go out there and fight.”
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.