KELLER, Texas – Coppell running back Cam McDaniel picked a flat team up on his shoulders, and the playoff-bound Cowboys ran over Keller on Thursday, 56-16, to remain unbeaten.
McDaniel scored five touchdowns for the Cowboys, one on an 80-yard punt return at the beginning of the second quarter. He rushed 20 times for 265 yards and four touchdowns.
“[McDaniel is] a beast,” Coppell head coach Joe McBride said. "He’s a great player. Cam is passionate. He comes out here with crazy passion and we lean on him hard to do what he does.”
Coppell (9-0, 6-0 District 7-5A), No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A area rankings, followed the punt return by recovering an onside kick. McDaniel scored on a 37-yard run on the first play after the recovery, bringing the score to 14-0.
Keller (2-7, 1-5) found the scoreboard late in the second quarter on a very weird 54-yard touchdown catch by Paul Poyser. Flags flew as the ball was snapped and the Coppell defense stood in place, apparently believing the call was against Keller. The Indians kept with the play, as Poyser caught the pass and ran up the sideline for the score. Keller declined the penalty on the confused Cowboys, and it was 14-6 after a failed two-point try.
McDaniel got the last word of the half, scoring on a 21-yard run with only 25 seconds remaining.
A passionate halftime speech from McBride got his players into gear, and the Cowboys never looked back in the second half.
“You can’t take this game for granted," McBride said. "You just can’t walk out here and think people are going to let you just win.”
McDaniel responded to McBride's halftime speech by scoring on 20- and 49-yard runs in the fourth quarter.
“Well, we got our tails chewed out,” McDaniel said. “We’ve got a head coach that’s committed to winning. And our team's committed to winning for the most part. We just came out a little flat tonight, not as motivated as we usually are. Not because Keller is not a good football team. Maybe it was a Thursday game or having school tomorrow, but we definitely looked flat.”
Coppell backup quarterback Tyler Landis made his mark on the game, scoring on a 33-yard run with 3:16 left in the fourth.
Keller was able to score two more times in the game on a short-yardage field goal and a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Tyler Park.
With one game left for the Cowboys in the regular season, McDaniel and his teammates have only one goal in mind.
“We want to be undefeated,” McDaniel said. “No Coppell team has been undefeated outright district champion. We expect to win every game we go into, and we’re just ready to go.”