Michael Rodriguez Coppell

Coppell sophomore Michael Rodriguez looks for a running lane during Saturday’s Class 6A Division II Region 1 bi-district game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton. 

DENTON – Coppell had all of the momentum.

The Cowboys had rallied from a 21-point deficit to tie the game at 24 early in the third quarter after an 83-yard scramble senior quarterback Ryan Walker set up a one-yard run by senior tailback Jason Ngwu.

The problem was, Guyer had a big run of its own left in the tank.

Rallying with 28 straight points of its own, Guyer pulled away for a 52-24 victory against Coppell in a 52-24 win for the Wildcats in a Class 6A Division II Region I game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex on Saturday afternoon.

Guyer used its power rushing attack to wear down Coppell. The Wildcats finished the game with 392 rushing yards. Junior Byron Phillips led the way with 209 yards and three touchdowns.

Coppell finishes its season at 6-4. Guyer improved to 8-2.

“Our kids just kept fighting,” said Mike DeWitt, Coppell head coach. “Guyer is a really football team. Our kids showed a lot of heart, a lot of effort, especially there in the first half. I thought that we came out strong to start the second half. But, they just wore us down. They’re a really good football team. They’re big up front on both sides of the ball. Hats off to them. I’m just proud of our kids.”

Early on, it appeared that it was going to be a long day for Coppell.

An interception by Guyer junior Marquan Pope -- the first time of his two takeaways on the day the day -- provided the spark for the Wildcats, who took a 24-3 lead with 8:12 left in the first half after a 33-yard field goal by senior Michael Mayfield.

Guyer senior quarterback Eli Stowers, a Texas A&M pledge, threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to junior Jace Wilson with 8:36 left in the first quarter to commence the scoring. The future Aggie finished 13-of-19 passing for 155 yards and also rushed for 52 yards on 12 carries.

Phillips later added touchdown runs for 39 and 1 yard.

Coppell's offense, which struggled to get in sync during the first quarter, came to life in a big way late in the first half.

Walker jump-started a 12-play, 95-yard drive with a pair of runs, later connecting with senior K.J. Liggins, who beat his old team for a 34-yard touchdown reception to cut the deficit to 24-10.

Walker threw for 208 yards and also rushed for 126 yards.

After an illegal-block-in-the-back penalty on Guyer stalled the ensuing Wildcat drive, a 30-yard reception by Coppell junior Anthony Black on the ensuing Cowboy drive led to a one-yard touchdown run by Ngwu to cut the deficit to 24-17.

Black was sensational in his playoff debut, catching six passes for 131 yards. 

Coppell got the ball first in the third quarter and proceeded to pick up where it left off at the end of the first half. Walker's 83-yard scramble led to Ngwu's second one-yard touchdown run of the game, tying the score at 24-24.

However, that momentum was short-lived.

Phillips bulldozed his way into the end zone from six yards out on the ensuing Guyer drive for his third touchdown of the game to put the Wildcats back on top 31-24 with 7:50 left in the third quarter. 

Coppell appeared that it was going to answer the score, but Pope threw a wrench into what had been a solid drive for the Cowboys, returning an interception 83 yards for a score and a 38-24 Wildcats lead.

Coppell had a chance to make it a one-possession game late in the third quarter.

The Cowboys drove inside the Wildcat 10 after a 42-yard pass reception by Black, but Guyer’s defense held out of the end zone. The Wildcats stopped the Cowboys short of the goal line on three straight runs then got Walker to throw an errant pass over Liggins’ head on fourth down.

Guyer proceeded to ice the victory with its bruising rushing attack. The Wildcats drove 98 yards and used 17 plays – all runs – to consume more than five minutes off the game clock. Senior Tyion Alridge ran for a two-yard score to put Guyer ahead 45-24 with 8:21 left in the game.

“It’s just a wall of bodies,” DeWitt said. “People just don’t understand the physicality of it. I’m just proud of our kids.”

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