WEEK 11 – TAPPS DIVISION I PLAYOFFS, HOTZE FIELD INSIDE GRANGER STADIUM
Addison Trinity Christian Academy 35
Eagle Football 51
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Quarterback Maddox Kopp ‘21 feasted on a scoring buffet of seven touchdowns and 419 total yards in his first varsity playoff start – throwing, running, and a Super Bowl-like “Philly Special” reception in the pivotal first half as Eagle Football cruised to a 51-35 win to open the TAPPS state postseason.
The Eagles (8-3) led 14-0 after the first period, 28-10 at halftime, and were never really threatened as they raced to their sixth straight victory and seventh in eight games.
The Eagles answered TCA’s first points of the game midway second period with a mega blast kickoff return from mighty mite Josh Crissmon ‘20 to the Trojans’ eight-yard line. Kopp (25-35 and 345 passing yards) then took a direct shotgun snap, handed off to running back John Fontenot ‘21 moving left, who then flipped the ball to reversing receiver Spencer Kryger ‘20.
Kryger didn’t try to run the ball. He didn’t even pause. He simply rolled right and lofted a short pass to the front right corner of the end zone, where Kopp cradled the first touchdown reception of his varsity career. The trickeration was reminiscent of the Eagles antics featuring quarterback Nick Foles in their pasting of the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
It was Kryger’s fourth completion of the season. In four attempts. With all four resulting in touchdowns. Seriously.
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
Kopp practically catapulted to outsized folk hero status while almost single-handedly terminating TCA’s playoff fate. He took a Ginsu knife to the Trojan defense, connecting on scoring strikes to receivers Crissmon in the first period, Kryger in the second stanza, and twice with Drake Martinez ’21 in the fourth quarter.
Kopp’s swashbuckling and swaggy performance included capping the Eagles’ second series with a scoring sneak following a TCA fumbled punt. He expertly orchestrated a primo perfect 2:00 drill to close the half with a payoff to Kryger for a commanding 28-10 lead at the break. His 24-yard romp to the end zone in the first 90 seconds of the second half pushed the Eagles out front 35-10. Another mad scramble setup thunder foot Paul Langemeir ‘20 to hit from 34 yards for a 28-point cushion.
Until the final 12:00, Martinez (9 catches for 113 yards) had not gotten in on the fun. He clearly wanted in on the fun. He turned a strike from Kopp into a 28-yard gainer that carried to the TCA seven-year line. On the next snap, Kopp rolled right and found Martinez breaking free for 44-20. In the final 5:30, the torrid tag-team blazed consecutive completions into a 17-yard advance up the right sideline and a 13-yard touchdown to close out the outrageous St. Thomas output.
¡UNO! ¡DOS! ¡TRE!
The Eagles turned two first period turnovers into a jump start from a shaky start. Kryger recovered a botched kick at the TCA 30-yard line. Defensive back Charlie Hanna ‘20 stifled TCA’s second series with an interception on the brink of the red zone.
Defensive end Chidera Umeh ‘20 took up squatters rights in the TCA backfield throughout the first half picking his favored lane to the quarterback. The manic manchild along with linebackers Cooper Thomas ‘20 (17 total tackles), Vince Lee ’21 (11 tackles) and Mason Ritchie ‘20 was largely unblockable during the game’s defining minutes, bull-rushing TCA into oblivion.
For the second time in six games, the opposing sideline was manned by a member of the Pro Football Hall of Famer. TCA head coach Mike Singletary, the former Worthing High School star and all-time Baylor Bear / Chicago Bear wrecking ball linebacker followed Cedar Hill Trinity Christian offensive coordinator Deion Sanders to the friendly confines of St. Thomas.
WEEK 10 || FIRST HALF
WEEK 10 || SECOND HALF
STATE OF PLAY
The Eagles provided the strongest hold steady since Craig Finn and the crew covered “Atlantic City.”
Kopp continues to mature in his first starting season and was the big picture of poise and patience in the pocket in his first playoff start.
Offensive coordinator Josh Hooten and quarterback guru Matt Hudson blended a raucous playlist of calls that couldn’t have been more imaginative had it included the Black Keys, RL Burnside, Big Pun, some older Beastie Boys, and the Pixies.
Eagle Football was the more physical team, ran the ball when necessary, hit TCA’s weak spots, and controlled the clock.
Eliminating defensive lapses is def com critical moving forward. But there’s no debate that while the Eagles needed some time to accelerate their octane, the TCA offense was not able to come close to capitalizing or putting the outcome in jeopardy.
St. Thomas will face Dallas Bishop Lynch in the Division I regional final for the second consecutive postseason. It’s the fifth playoff match between the two programs since 2012.
In 2018, four touchdowns from quarterback Payton Matocha’19 (University of Miami) including a pair of pitch-and-catch scoring tosses with running back Ian Wheeler’19 (Howard University) were not enough in a 42-35 defeat that ended the Eagle season at 6-6.
In 2016, the Eagles led 23-21 in the second half of the area playoff on their home turf. But the game’s sixth lead change fueled a Friar 42-23 runaway.
In 2013, Eagle Football followed is first undefeated regular season since 1939 with a 47-28 home playoff win to avenge a 27-11 season ending defeat the previous year in Teague.
Eagle Fight Never Dies!