COPPELL — An emotional Coppell head coach Mike DeWitt said following Friday’s season-opener he has never felt better for one of his players during the entirety of his coaching career.
Carrying the weight of a missed extra point in overtime of the third round of the playoffs a year ago, Texas A&M commit and senior kicker Caden Davis was just hoping for a chance at redemption in some fashion this season.
He got it Friday, and in the biggest of ways.
With the Cowboys trailing Sachse, 28-27, with one second remaining in a battle of two reigning district champs, Davis converted a 57-yard field goal as time expired to give Coppell a 30-28 victory — the first game-winning field goal of his career.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Davis said “I was confident running out there for sure and I think the coaches were too. In pregame, I was making them from 60 (yards) the same way, so there was confidence. I actually thought I got under that one a little bit, but I was lucky enough to have the distance. I’m feeling great. There is nothing like it. I knew walking out there this was my chance to redeem myself and sure enough.”
“I’ve never felt better for anyone,” DeWitt added. “He’s just an awesome kid and has been through so much. He carried that all on his shoulders for a whole offseason … it’s not an accident that that whole thing set up like that. I praise God and I am so thankful. It’s a blessing for that kid. We were just trying to get the ball inside the 40. I don’t know where it was … I guess it was on the 40. At that point, we had to try … he has such a strong leg.”
The win capped what DeWitt described as a “heavyweight fight” throughout.
Moments prior to Davis’ game-winner, Sachse had taken its first lead of the game with 21 seconds remaining when Myles Nash scored from 3 yards out.
Sachse starting quarterback Anthony Beltran helmed the go-ahead drive after being reinserted under center when Xavier Forman — who entered the game on the third drive — left with an apparent injury.
“It was interesting how that played out,” said Mark “Red” Behrens, Sachse head coach. “Both did good things and we’re still evaluating. We have all non-district to figure out who is going to be the guy.”
But Sachse’s lead was short-lived after KJ Liggins returned the ensuing kickoff to the 40-yard line.
Coppell first-year starting quarterback and junior Drew Cerniglia — whose first pass of the game was intercepted and returned 100 yards for a touchdown by Sachse’s Micah Buchanan — completed three short passes to move into field-goal range.
“He threw the ball well, especially that last drive,” DeWitt said. “He made some great throws and I’m proud of the way he fought back too.”
“We could have run that clock a little more, but if you get a first and it starts ticking you never know,” Behrens added. “We did what we had to do, but we let them get way too far up on the return. The kick was perfect and we ran out of a lane and let him get an extra 10 or 15. You take that away and he doesn’t make that.”
Cerniglia finished 20-of-25 for 149 yards, while Jonathan McGill had 92 total yards and Liggins chipped in 89 total yards.
Running back Ryan Hirt, meanwhile, racked up 104 yards on 20 carries, including touchdown runs of 36 and 27 yards in the first quarter as the Cowboys built a 14-7 advantage.
Cerniglia’s first touchdown pass, a 26-yarder to McGill, increased the lead to 21-7 before Sachse began to chip away sparked by a 33-yard scoring strike from Forman to Trent Dean.
Shon Coleman’s 2-yard touchdown plunge and fourth-and-short drew Sachse even early in the third before Davis knocked down field goals of 42, 28 and 57 yards — the latter to win.
“It was a heavyweight fight,” DeWitt said. “I thought both teams played with heart. We got tired, but its first game and earlier. I think the heat got to both teams a little more because of that and they showed a lot of courage.”
Coppell looks to keep rolling Friday when they travel to face Hurst L.D. Bell.
Sachse, meanwhile, looks to bounce back against Euless Trinity.
“I felt like it was going to be a tough game,” Behrens said. “We still have some holes to fill and all that, but we saw quite a bit tonight that is going to help us out. We did a lot of good things, but we have to get better.”