ALLEN – Argyle’s offense was simply unstoppable Saturday night in the Tom Landry Classic.
That the Eagles’ 21-point victory came against a quality 5A defense in Lovejoy made matters all the more impressive.
Argyle didn’t punt until the final three minutes of the first half, scoring touchdowns on its first five possessions and shutting down Lovejoy running back Jaji Rainey en route to a 42-21 victory in Week One of the 2017 season.
Eagles quarterback Jon Copeland finished with 263 yards passing and three touchdowns, and running back Don Williams scored two touchdowns on 112 yards rushing. Lovejoy was led by junior quarterback Carson Collins, who threw for 338 yards.
Lovejoy had no answer for Copeland and the Argyle offense, which established early dominance in the trenches with the senior Williams’ two first-quarter touchdowns. With the Eagles breaking off giant gains on the ground, the Lovejoy safeties began cheating toward the line of scrimmage; Copeland then began hitting wide receivers Wes McCullum and Chase Estrada over the top for long touchdowns.
“You’ve got to give credit to Argyle, first and foremost,” said Todd Ford, Lovejoy head coach. “They started hot and they stayed hot, and we tried too hard on a couple of plays and made some mistakes. But Week One is all about going out and doing what you can, then adjusting and getting better the next week. Our kids are going to be fine.”
Argyle finished the game with 437 total yards and 24 first downs, but most of the damage was done in the first half: By halftime, the Eagles had already amassed 363 total yards – including 144 rushing yards – and 21 first downs. By contrast, Lovejoy entered halftime with only five total first downs and 11 rushing yards.
Halftime stats:Argyle: 363 total yards, 21 first downs, 144 rushing yards. Lovejoy: 173 total yards, 5 first downs, 11 rushing yards.— Tim Glaze (@timothyglaze) September 3, 2017
Lovejoy showed flashes of its offensive potential when Collins hit senior receiver Chase Van Wagoner on a long 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but the Argyle defense settled in and forced two early Lovejoy punts.
That was all Copeland needed to give Argyle a cushion on the scoreboard, as the Eagles scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to quickly put the game out of reach for Lovejoy.
Van Wagoner, who committed to TCU prior to the season, finished with seven catches for 123 yards. He was the most consistent weapon on the evening for the Leopards, who were forced to throw often in the second half.
Even with the Lovejoy defense geared up to stop the rushing attack of Williams, Argyle’s offense took no chances against the Leopards’ defensive front seven, which includes Arkansas commit Bumper Pool and tenacious defensive end Mason Mitchell.
Besides the occasional deep ball thrown over the top, Copeland routinely hit his three receivers – McCullum, Estrada and Cade Nany – on short screen passes or slants, getting the ball of out his hands as quickly as possible to negate the Lovejoy pass rush. The game plan led to gaudy completion numbers for Copeland – the senior finished 24-of-34 through the air – and a Lovejoy defense that couldn’t get in front of the chains.
The Leopards’ challenging non-district schedule continues tonight in Week Two, when Lovejoy travels to Toyota Stadium Thursday to face Frisco Wakeland. It’s a quick turnaround during a week that already had students miss Monday for Labor Day.
“We have no choice but to get ready,” Ford said. “It’s kind of like [in the NFL] when the Cowboys play on Sunday and then have to play Thursday for Thanksgiving. Somewhere in between we’ve got to get our bodies healed and get ready to play a really good Wakeland team.”
Argyle plays La Grange at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
For continued coverage of the local sports scene, follow @timothyglaze on Twitter.