FRISCO — An early deficit was too big to overcome for Jesuit Dallas in its quest to upset unbeaten Coppell on Thursday.
Jesuit’s second-half comeback fell short in a 42-23 loss in a Class 6A Division II matchup at The Star, eliminating the Rangers in the second round of the Region I playoffs for the second straight season.
The Cowboys (12-0) scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and never relinquished the lead, although the Rangers (8-4) seized momentum after halftime.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted to, but we settled in we played really well and made it a really tight game,” said Jesuit head coach Brandon Hickman. “Our defense played really well in the second half, and at times the offense was moving the ball well, too.”
Trailing 21-3 early in the second quarter, Jesuit took advantage of favorable field position with a short drive capped by a 2-yard Zane Williams scoring run.
Coppell answered with a touchdown scamper by Xavier Mosley just before the break, using a size and speed advantage that enabled a diverse attack on both sides of scrimmage.
Williams scored his second touchdown on the opening possession of the third quarter, this time on a 6-yard pass from Charlie Peters.
After a defensive stop, the Rangers engineered their best drive of the game, an 84-yarder featuring long passes from Peters to Quentin Williams and Jack Yeskie. Peters connected with Jaeger Krauss on a short scoring strike to cut the deficit to 28-23.
Meanwhile, the Jesuit defense helped the surge by holding the Cowboys to 19 total yards in the third quarter. Cooper Smith and Cade Gill recorded back-to-back sacks to end the stanza.
However, with a chance to take the lead, Jesuit’s next drive stalled in the red zone following a sack, and ended with a missed field goal.
From there, O’Marion Mbakwe extended the advantage for the Cowboys with a 57-yard touchdown run with 4:13 left. Mbakwe finished with a game-high 134 rushing yards and two scores.
“We were just resilient. When Jesuit threw their best shot at us, we found a way to throw our best shot back,” said Coppell head coach Antonio Wiley. “I’ve seen times when the momentum shifts like that, and it just goes downhill for the rest of the game. Hats off to our guys for weathering the storm.”
Edward Griffin and Baron Tipton connected on all three Coppell touchdowns in the first quarter, covering 74 total yards and accounting for almost half of the Cowboys’ passing yardage in the game. Mosley ran for 90 yards as Coppell relied more on its ground attack in the second half.
“They’ve got a lot of talent. I was pleased that we made it a ball game,” Hickman said. “We just couldn’t hang on and finish.”
Peters completed 23 of 38 passes for 266 yards. Quentin Williams was his top target with seven catches for 103 yards. Zane Williams led the Rangers with 53 rushing yards.
Peters, Krauss, Yeskie, Zane Williams, and Henry Bourret will be among the key playmakers returning next season for Jesuit.
PHOTOS: Chris McGathey