Better late than never, they say.
Friday Night Faceoffs are finally here!
Each week, WFAA.com brings you live coverage of a top high school football matchup in the DFW area. Follow along with high schools contributor Reece Kelley Graham (@ReeceKelleyG) as he provides updates on the teams throughout the week, plus live coverage on social media and the postgame recap.
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Week 3's matchup: Coppell Cowboys at No. 1 Allen Eagles
Who: Coppell Cowboys (2-0, 0-0 District 9-6A) at Allen Eagles (2-0, 0-0 District 6-6A)
Where: Allen's Eagle Stadium – 7:30 p.m.
This week's Friday Night Faceoff finds the clear favorite in 9-6A pitted against the clear favorite in 6-6A. An offense fast and dynamic enough to make an opponent's head spin. A defense so elite that some have considered using the word "doomsday" to describe it – a word normally reserved for the team that plays in Arlington on Sundays. If we're talking about words, Coppell and Allen might be the best juxtaposition of two football teams in the area. This week, we get to see the team that scores too much face the team that doesn't get scored on. Drama will ensue, people.
Here's what you need to know about the Allen Eagles
In case you haven't been paying attention, the Allen Eagles are currently playing the best football in North Texas. We want to see them play. Right now. They're ranked No. 1 (AP) in Texas for a reason, folks.
Allen has returned to championship form – the form that won the Eagles three straight state championships from 2012-2014. But that's not saying much, as Allen made it all the way to the state semifinals the past two seasons. If being one win away from the championship game in back-to-back years is your definition of a lull, you're probably doing something right.
The Eagles' program has maintained its dominance partially due to how balanced it has remained. Allen operates efficiently on both sides of the ball and is the closest thing you'll find to a "professional" high school team anywhere. During its state title streak, sure, quarterback Kyler Murray may have had something to do with Allen's success. But frankly, the Eagles have been a fantastic all-around ball team for years.
And they still are, to nobody's surprise. Led by QB Grant Tisdale and running back Brock Sturges, the Eagles have the offensive weapons to go places yet again.
But seeing Allen's defense take point during the Eagles' first two games of the season has been a nice change of pace for the program. Allen is allowing opponents an almost unbelievable average of only 7.5 points per game. And remember, Allen's first opponent was Cedar Hill, a team known for putting points on the board, even against top competition.
Allen is also allowing just 171 yards per game and has held both of its opponents to under 100 rushing yards. Last week, the Eagles held Shreveport's Evangel Christian to less than 100 yards of total offense.
So, what's in the water? Allen head coach Terry Gambill. Before Gambill went on to be the head coach at Waco Midway, he was the defensive coordinator at Allen when the school won its first state title in 2008. In a way, nobody should be shocked that opponents are getting smashed by the Eagles like bugs on a windshield. We should have expected it.
It's not just the coach -- this defense is stacked with talent. Senior defensive lineman Jayden Jernigan has multiple Power 5 offers and creates problems that few in Allen's district are prepared to deal with. Linebacker Jace Waters is also being highly recruited after finishing last season with 91 tackles, 14 for a loss and five sacks. That's what we sports writers like to call a "playmaker."
Don't sleep on Colton Manning or Jevon Jones in Allen's secondary either – this group allowed only 47 passing yards last week.
The bottom line: Allen's defense was good enough to reach the state semifinals last season, and now it's good enough to win the whole thing. Ohio State's "Across the Field" is the Eagles' fight song, but opponents won't be doing much of that. Allen will be Coppell's biggest challenge of the regular season.