A spirited effort on offense in the second half wasn’t enough for the Coppell football team as the Cowboys were unable to overcome a 21-point halftime deficit in a 28-13 non-district loss to Highland Park at Buddy Echols Field on Friday night.
After scoring 83 points in its first two games, Coppell (1-2) was held scoreless in the first half and had just 48 yards of offense by halftime.
It was the complete opposite for Highland Park (2-1).
Highland Park (2-1) found a lot of success through the air with junior quarterback Brennan Storer leading the charge for the Scots.
The Scots kept their offense on the field facing fourth-and-one at the Cowboy 33-yard line on the game’s initial drive, but Highland Park junior wide receiver Jackson Heis caught a pass out of bounds on a fade route that was thrown by Storer.
But that was one of the few times on the night that Storer didn’t throw an accurate pass.
Highland Park found out a way to get out of some long-yardage situations on two of its next three drives and the Scots went on to build a 21-0 halftime lead.
Facing second-and-19 at the Coppell 46, Storer found senior Ben Croasdale wide open near the right sideline for a 46-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Highland Park lead with 4:57 left in the first quarter.
Two Scots drives later, Highland Park overcame first-and-25 to earn its second score of the game.
Senior Luke Rossley caught a swing pass from Storer and Rossley proceeded to dart down the right sideline for a 12-yard touchdown with 9:57 left in the second quarter.
Highland Park resorted to a little trickery on the ensuing two-point conversion. Senior Jackson Heis was handed the ball on a double reverse and threw to junior Luke Herring, who was wide open in the end zone and made the catch.
Highland Park’s lead now stood at 14-0.
Then, with time winding down in the first half, Scots senior running back Christian Reeves ran the ball inside the tackles for a 7-yard touchdown with 54 ticks left on the clock for a 21-0 lead.
Storer completed 16-of-23 passes for 234 yards – 207 of that total coming in the first half – with two touchdowns.
“We’ve got some young guys,” said Mike DeWitt, Coppell head coach. “We’ve got some guys at some new positions. We moved a safety to corner and a corner to safety and we were starting a freshman tonight. Overall, I was very pleased with their effort.”
But Coppell regrouped at halftime and looked crisp on offense in the second half.
Cowboy junior quarterback Jack Fishpaw led two touchdown drives in the second half and he used his legs to set up those scores.
Using 18 plays and almost seven minutes of game clock, Fishpaw faked a handoff and then ran 3 yards into the end zone to cut the deficit to 21-6 after Highland Park stuffed the extra-point attempt. Coppell converted two fourth downs on that drive. Fishpaw ran for nine yard on fourth-and-eight and the Cowboys were then given an extra set of downs after the Scots were called for roughing the passer on the play just before Fishpaw’s score.
“We made plays to keep drives alive,” DeWitt said. “I thought that Jack did a great job of using his feet to extend drives. We just played with a lot of effort coming out of halftime. I was proud of that.”
Highland Park didn’t touch the ball until there was 5:09 left in the third quarter.
After a 43-yard field goal attempt was pushed wide left by the Scots on their next drive, the Cowboys nearly made it a one-possession game. Using 17 plays and eating up six minutes of game block, Coppell drove to the Highland Park 9. But on fourth and goal, a pass by Fishpaw bounced just in front of a wide receiver in the end zone.
Storer iced the victory for Highland Park with a 1-yard plunge up the middle for a 28-6 Scots lead with 2:03 left in the game.
Coppell did get in the game’s final score. Fishpaw connected with junior Zack Darkoch on a 15-yard pass with 55 seconds left in the ballgame.
Fishpaw carried 16 times for 77 yards and completed 12-of-27 through the air for 130 yards. Senior Dylan Nelson was highly productive in the passing game, catching eight balls for 89 yards.
Coppell is on a bye. The Cowboys will welcome Plano to Buddy Echols Field on Sept. 24 to kick off District 6-6A play.
“I think it’s good to have a bye week,” DeWitt said. “More than that, I think that everybody is tired and got some guys banged up, and I think that it will be a good chance for us to get healthy and recovered and focused on us and things that we need to do to get better.”