COPPELL — Justin Burton’s 96-yard interception return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter helped seal a 35-27 victory for Hebron over Coppell Friday at Buddy Echols Field.
Burton intercepted Coppell backup quarterback Ryan Walker — who had entered the game early in the second half for banged-up starter Kevin Shuman — with 9:11 remaining and the Cowboys inside the Hebron 20-yard looking to trim a 28-13 deficit to one score.
Hebron had built its lead late in the third quarter and early in the fourth on a pair of touchdown runs from quarterback Carson Harris — one following Walker’s first interception of the game, and another occurring after Coppell saw a 50-yard field goal attempt that would have put the Cowboys in front, 16-14, hit the crossbar.
Following seven combined punts to start the game, the Hawks had opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Ben Rutherford and later answered a 3-yard touchdown run by Shuman with an 84-yard scoring strike on a screen pass on third-and-10 from Harris to Nick Frazier.
The big plays and opportunistic defense supplied enough scoring to overcome a 502-303 deficit in offense on the night.
“We weren’t able to sustain drives and keep the defense off the field,” said Brian Brazil, Hebron head coach. “I’m sure statistically, we got our tails kicked, but we won the game and that’s all that matters in the end.”
Coppell, meanwhile, nearly fought its way back in the game late.
Anthony Black’s 34-yard touchdown reception from Walker with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter cut the Hebron lead to 34-20, and after a recovering their second onside kick of the game, the Cowboys moved within one score with 12 seconds remaining on a touchdown pass from Walker to Bishop Bell.
Coppell, however, was unable to secure a third onside kick to attempt a game-tying drive in the final seconds.
“I have watch the tape, but at the end of the day, this one’s on me,” said Mike DeWitt, Coppell head coach. “I have to get better and we have to go back to the drawing board and put our kids in a position to win. I was proud of our effort, though. A lot of teams would have folded.”
Harris finished with 173 passing yards and two touchdowns to go with 66 yards and two scores on the ground.
However, the Coppell defense limited Hebron running back Jaylon Lott and Isaiah Broadway to just 46 and 17 yards rushing, respectively.
“I was really proud of the defense,” DeWitt said. “There are a couple things we have to correct when they went spread, but it’s all fixable, and that’s a positive.”
“I’m anxious to see why we didn’t run the ball better, and we took some deep shots and missed them,” Brazil added. “There were things for whatever reason just didn’t work out and we’ll have to go back and look at that.”
For Coppell, Walker finished with 205 passing yards, Shuman threw for 126 yards and Jason Ngwu rushed for 78. Black, meanwhile, led all receivers with 148 yards.
“I thought defensively we played really well, we just got really tired late,” Brazil said. “We made big plays offensively when we needed to and took care of some things, but defensively, I though they really played well.”
Hebron will need a similar effort at 7 p.m. Friday when they travel to take on Marcus in a battle of 6-6A unbeatens.
“Credit to Coppell, they kept fighting and getting after it, but we needed to finish that game better than we did,” Brazil said. “We better be better next week though because we’re going to have our hands full with Marcus.”
Coppell, meanwhile, looks to bounce back at the same time at home against Lewisville.
“(This one is) already behind me and we’ll start watching film on Lewisville as soon as possible,” DeWitt said.