MESQUITE, Texas – Coppell head coach Joe McBride knows his young team's high preseason rankings have more to do with 2010 than 2011, and he tried to convey that message to his players.
But if Coppell's performance against Mesquite Horn on Friday is any indication, it's only a matter of time before these new Cowboys earn their rank.
Despite playing numerous first-year starters at key positions, Coppell wore down a physical and more experienced Horn team in a 20-7 win at Hanby Stadium to open the season.
One of the names McBride might list off to reporters in future seasons might be that of receiver Jacob Logan.
Playing his first game at receiver after converting from safety, the junior caught 12 passes for 178 yards in addition to a rushing touchdown, and the majority of his production (141 yards) came in the first half when the Cowboys (1-0) struggled mightily to run the ball.
Logan didn't have any trouble doing anything though. He capped a phenomenal first half with an 8-yard touchdown run that gave Coppell a 10-7 going into the break.
"We threw the ball to me this game, but it's going to be spread out next game," Logan said. "We're not always going to have to throw the ball to me. It's the whole team. If it contributes to the W, it doesn't matter how many balls I caught."
Logan overshadowed the debut of his quarterback -- Jake Larson. Larson went 16-for-25 for 215 yards and two interceptions, but it was his connection with Logan that almost single-handedly kept Coppell afloat while the Jaguars jumped on the Cowboys early.
"He grew series by series," McBride said of Larson. "Do I wish a couple of balls had been a little different? Yeah, but I was proud that we responded."
On its first drive of the game, Horn needed only five plays to get into the end zone as Justyn Oliphant went 37 yards around the right side for a score to give Horn a 7-0 lead.
Horn's second drive went deep into Coppell territory before ending in a missed field goal, suggesting that the Jaguars wouldn't have any trouble moving the ball against Coppell's young defense.
But the unit caught its breath. After giving up 129 yards on Horn's first two drives, Coppell gave up only 88 yards the rest of the game.
"They're young," McBride said of his defense. "You're playing a good football team that comes out storming. We took a left and right punch and settled down and battled."
Coppell capitalized on Horn mistakes in the second half. The Cowboys converted two Horn (0-1) personal foul penalties into a 32-yard Nick Jordan field goal to take a 13-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Following a Larson interception that gave Horn new life early in the fourth quarter, Coppell recovered a fumble by Horn quarterback Destri White. Luke Jenner went up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown on Coppell's first play after the fumble to give Coppell a 20-7 lead and seal the win.