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‘We were clicking on all cylinders’: Walker throws for six TDs in Coppell’s win over Plano East



PLANO, TX– After Coppell had one day of practice to prepare for its previous opponent, Lewisville, senior quarterback Ryan Walker expected his team’s offense to look much sharper Friday night against Plano East.

That, it did.

Walker had the Cowboys clicking on all cylinders against the Panthers as he completed 18 of 21 passes for 311 yards with six touchdowns, leading Coppell to a 49-26 victory against Plano East at Tom Kimbrough Stadium.

“Tonight, we were clicking on all cylinders,” he said. “We were running the ball well. We were throwing the ball well. Almost every drive, we were pushing the ball down the field. Our tempo had a lot to do with that. I think we can capitalize against a lot of teams playing that way.”

Walker’s big night spoiled a stellar performance by his counterpart, Plano East senior quarterback Dylan Hayden.

With Coppell (5-3 overall, 3-2 District 6-6A) keying on Panthers junior tailback Ismail Mahdi, Hayden rushed for 186 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown and also completed 12 of 20 passes for 174 yards. Mahdi rushed for three scores but was held to 59 rushing yards on 20 carries. But, it was three turnovers that did in the Panthers.

The turning point in the game occurred with less than two minutes left in the first half.

Plano East (0-8, 0-5) was driving inside the Coppell 15 with the chance to reclaim the lead, but Hayden was intercepted by Coppell senior linebacker Tim O’Hearn. Coppell turned that takeaway into points.

With one second left in the first half, Cowboys junior Anthony Black got one foot inbounds in the corner of the end zone and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Walker

Instead of a potential lead for Plano East, Coppell led 21-13 at halftime.

“I couldn’t really tell because (O’Hearn) was opposite of us,” said Mike DeWitt, Coppell head coach Mike DeWitt. “The quarterback got flushed, but Tim made a great play on the ball, and that was huge.”

Black caught six passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns. Senior wide-out K.J. Liggins hauled in six receptions, going for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Senior tailback Jason Ngwu was the workhorse for Coppell’s rushing attack, finishing with 22 totes for 147 yards.

Plano East didn’t go away quietly.

Hayden burst 62 yards for a touchdown to cut what had been a 35-20 lead for Coppell only a few seconds prior to 35-26 with 9:46 left in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys blocked the extra point.

Coppell restored its double-digit lead just over a minute later on a 51-yard bomb from Walker to Liggins and then sealed the win after Cowboys junior cornerback Isaiah Nichols ripped the ball out of the hands of Mahdi. Mahdi caught a pass at the Coppell 25-yard line but fumbled as he fought for additional yardage.

Senior DJ Kieslak proceeded to a little insurance for the Cowboys as he made an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown reception with 5:44 left in the game, increasing Coppell’s lead to 49-26.

“Overall, I’m really proud of our kids,” DeWitt said. “(Plano East) has been in every game that they’ve lost. They fumbled twice inside the 5-yard line against Lewisville and they had a chance to beat Lewisville. They’re explosive on offense and do a good job defensively. But, I’m proud of our guys.”

Friday’s win, coupled with Plano West’s 27-13 loss against Hebron, has elevated Coppell into fourth place in the district standings. That puts the Cowboys in the driver’s seat for a playoff berth. All Coppell has to do to clinch a postseason berth is to defeat Flower Mound on Dec. 4.

“Coach is preaching 1-0,” Walker said. “You’ve got to go 1-0 every week. In our heads, we’re halfway through the season. I guess this is week nine. We’re over halfway there. We’re hoping that we can play all 16 (games). But, we’re not trying to look that far ahead.”