Before the season started, Coppell head coach Joe McBride said his team was struggling to find an identity.
Now, the Cowboys (8-0, 5-0 District 7-5A) sit at No. 2 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A top 10 thanks to one of the area’s best defenses.
That defense-first mentality began last season for the Cowboys, and McBride said he made sure to emphasize to his players this season that they will be a defense-minded squad again this year.
“We told them, ‘You’ve got to keep it up,’” McBride said. “We’re going to win championships with defense. I don’t want to be one of those teams that wins 56-54 and all that stuff. We are going to play good defense.”
Coppell has held opponents to 277.9 yards and 9.4 points per game.
Defensive back Bennet Okoktcha, a Wisconsin recruit, and linebacker Brandon Mullins, who has committed to Syracuse, lead the defense.
“The real key to being successful is being disciplined, playing right and everyone playing as a group, and if we do that we’re able to be successful,” said Mullins, who has scored two touchdowns this season.
Coppell’s perfect record will be put to the test against Keller (2-6, 1-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Keller ISD Athletic Complex. McBride said Keller has everything in place to make this a trap game if his team does not come out ready.
“They’re probably the best team that has struggled in the win category that I’ve seen,” McBride said. “They really do a lot of stuff well. They have a lot of linemen returning. Offensively they're pretty potent and defensively they play disciplined. So they just scare you.”
That Keller offense is run by dual-threat quarterback in Tyler Park. Park has thrown for 1,364 yards and nine touchdowns and leads the team in rushing yards with 200 and has two touchdowns on the ground.
Park can check to two big-play receivers in Cameron Martin and Reed Cheatham, who each have more than 500 yards receiving and have combined for eight touchdown catches.
The Keller defense, which has allowed an average of 185.5 yards rushing per game, will have its hands full with Coppell running back Cam McDaniel. McDaniel has rushed for 1,186 yards and 19 touchdowns.