With each of the last two meetings between Coppell and Sachse having been decided by a total of five points, it didn’t come as a surprise that Friday’s game came down to the wire.
Sachse withstood every punch that Coppell gave them and even had one final chance to send the contest into overtime.
Starting at their own 19-yard line with 1:51 remaining, the Mustangs drove to the Cowboy 39 after a 24-yard pass play between junior quarterback Alex Orji and senior Jaden Hunter extended the drive. One play later, however, Coppell got to Orji and junior Simi Ncube-Socks pounced on the fumble.
Coppell senior quarterback Ryan Walker took a knee to run out the remaining time on the clock and the Cowboys hung on for a 42-35 win at Buddy Echols Field.
“It was a sigh of relief,” said Mike DeWitt, Coppell head football coach. “It was a long game, two really good football teams that were fighting and didn’t want to give up. Hats off to Sachse. They do a great job. Their coaching staff does a great job of coaching their kids. Those kids play really hard, too. They’re a good football team, too. They’re going to win a lot of games. But I’m really proud of the way that our guys came out and battled.”
On a night in which the two teams combined for 1,142 yards of offense, it was two defensive plays made by Coppell in the second half that weighed heavily in the Cowboys starting the young season with a 2-0 record.
Coppell drove from its 12 all the way to the Sachse 2-yard line on its initial drive of the second half but the drive stalled and the Cowboys were forced to turn over the ball on downs after an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal.
Sachse trailed 21-14 after the incompletion.
Cowboys defensive back Zach Stricker returned an interception 45 yards for the score on the fourth play of the ensuing Mustang drive to bump the Coppell advantage to 28-14 with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter.
“That was big because we had went for it on fourth down before that,” DeWitt said. “I didn’t want to kick a field goal. I was wanting to get a touchdown. I knew this thing was far from over. They made a stop and then Zach made a pick-six a couple of plays later, which was huge.”
But for a Sachse (0-1) team that was playing in its first game of the season with a new quarterback, the Mustangs continued to battle all the way until the game’s final minute.
With the Mustangs facing second-and-goal from the Coppell 1 with 5:04 remaining in the fourth quarter, Orji ran the quarterback keeper to his left and into the end zone to bring Sachse to within 42-35.
Orji was brilliant in his season debut, completing 15-of-30 through the air for 339 yards and also rushed for 179 yards on 21 carries with four total touchdowns. Hunter caught five passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Junior Elijah Aimes opened the scoring with a 77-yard touchdown reception and went on to haul in four passes for 100 yards.
“He’s a grown man — a tough, tough kid,” DeWitt said of Orji. “He can run the football and he can throw the ball, too. They had a really good scheme, and when you mix in the tempo and the things they were doing, it was really good.”
Coppell featured excellent play from its quarterback. Walker completed 18-of-32 passes for 349 yards with touchdown passes of 3 and 37 yards in the second quarter to KJ Liggins that gave the Cowboys the lead for good. Liggins caught eight balls for 158 yards.
The Cowboys also received solid production in the ground game from senior running back Jason Ngwu, who rushed for 153 yard on 26 carries, including a 2-yard run up the middle in the first quarter to tie the score at 7-7.
Sachse took leads of 7-0 on a 77-yard pass from Orji to Aimes and 14-7 after a 75-yard touchdown run in which Orji used his speed to outrun the Coppell defense.
Both teams marched up and down the field in a first half that included five touchdowns, almost 500 total yards of offense, plenty of hard hits, two missed field goals and solid quarterback play.
Penalties hurt the Mustangs who were flagged eight times in the first two quarters of play for 53 yards, including a pair of holding calls that stalled two drives.
Sachse also had two underthrown balls in the second half that could have went for touchdowns.
SCH 14 0 7 14 – 35
COP 7 14 14 7 – 42
SCH –Elijah Aimes 77 pass from Alex Orji (Anthony Martinez kick), 9:28
COP – Jason Ngwu 2 run (Tyler Reid kick), 3:04
SCH – Orji 75 run (Martinez kick), 2:50
COP – KJ Liggins 3 pass from Ryan Walker (Reid kick), 10:31
COP – Liggins 37 pass from Walker (Reid kick), 6:54
COP – Zach Stricker 45-yard INT return (Reid kick), 6:29
SCH – Kori Jones 1 run (Martinez kick), 4:30
COP – Dylan Nelson 52 pass from Walker (Reid kick), 1:26
SCH – Jaden Hunter 52 pass from Orji (Martinez kick), 11:48
COP – Liggins 58 pass from Walker (Reid kick), 10:51
SCH – Orji 1 run (Martinez kick), 5:04