Coppock’s 30-yard interception return for a touchdown on the second play of the second half put the Elks in the lead, and they held on through a turnover-filled game for a 24-16 Greater Western Ohio Conference victory over Springfield.
Coppock also had an interception at the goal line in the second quarter and leads the GWOC with four. He credited defensive coordinator John Puckett.
“Coach Puckett puts us always in the right spot – I trust him 100% of the time,” Coppock said. “I knew watching film they liked that hitch to Duncan Bradley. So I saw the quarterback one read, took it, and then just took it to the end zone. I love starting the half like that. It was a perfect momentum shift.”
Leading 17-16 the Elks (7-1, 5-0 GWOC) needed to make a few more plays to stay alone in first place and move up to No. 3 in the Division I, Region 2 playoff points.
The Elks also got a nice backward bounce on a punt that set them up at the Springfield 34. The Elks turned to the run with Braylon Newcomb, back from injury, running out of the Wildcat formation and Daniel Kamara and Parker Johnson taking handoffs. On the eighth play Johnson scored from the 3 with 1:59 left in the third quarter for the game’s final points.
Springfield (3-5, 2-3) responded with a long drive, but a fumbled hand off 10 yards from the goal line was recovered by Centerville linebacker Connor Miltenberger with 7:10 left. Springfield got the ball back after the Elks fumbled, but Brent Upshaw, healthy and seeing his first action in several games, was intercepted for the fourth time, this one by Evan Thompson, and the Elks ran out the clock.
Springfield committed five turnovers, including a fumble, and Centerville fumbled twice, and quarterback Drake Wells threw two interceptions, including one that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Springfield linebacker Kyron Dolby to start the scoring. Dolby also sacked Wells for a safety for a 9-7 lead.
In the end it didn’t matter that the Wildcats outgained the Elks 266-194.
“We play with that mentality all night long of hoisting the black flag, giving no quarter, never letting up,” Coppock said. “And when one side of the ball is down a little bit, we try and pick them up. The offense did that for us a couple weeks ago.”
Springfield led 16-10 at halftime with the addition of Upshaw’s 47-yard touchdown pass to Da’Shawn Martin. But the five turnovers, 140 penalty yards to 20 for Centerville, and star cornerback Aaron Scott’s second-half ejection hurt the Wildcats’ chances.
“It has to be a complete game called for both sides,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said of the penalties. “And we’ve got to play better. We made a couple bad decisions. They’ve got good players. No. 1′s (Coppock) a good player. He’s been making plays like that all year.”