Continuing to rebuild with third new head coach in three seasons, Class 1A, DII Kopperl Eagles hope youthful squad can challenge for six-man football postseason berth
After rebooting their football program in 2021, the Kopperl Eagles remain a work in progress. And even though it did not result in the number of wins they wanted to see, the Eagles began to take flight last season.
Under new head coach Ken Davis, Kopperl hopes the experience gained by its youthful squad will translate into challenging for their first playoff berth in six years. And with eight returning lettermen that includes six offensive and five defensive starters, the Eagles just might soar.
“It’s been six years since Kopperl had a winning season,” said Davis, who takes the helm at Kopperl for his first football head coaching job after serving as an assistant last season. “We have lots of experience and a good group of freshmen. We have a non-district schedule that can help develop a winning attitude and give us some momentum going into district play. If this happens, I believe we have a shot at a playoff spot.”
After struggling in Class 1A, Division I for years, Kopperl moved down to Division II in 2018 and enjoyed immediate success by winning the District 12-1A, DII title. But the Eagles were unable to finish the following season due to injuries before shutting down the program in 2020.
Following two seasons in rebuilding mode, the Eagles enter the 2023 season with seven juniors, three sophomores and four freshmen eager to take their game to the next level.
Key returning starters include junior running back/defensive end Anthony Johnson, junior guard/defensive lineman Isaac Payen, junior quarterback/safety Christian Falk, junior wide receiver/defensive back Hunter Johnson and sophomore running back/ defensive back Bearon Brinkley.
Beginning his coaching career at Roby Consolidated ISD in 2006, Davis moved to Iredell to be close to family in 2012 where he led the Lady Dragons to their first basketball district title in 10 years while serving as a football assistant coach.
After stepping away from the coaching profession for two years, Davis returning to take the assistant football and boys basketball head coaching job at Lingleville in 2017. Davis took over the Cardinal football head coaching job and posted a 12-17 record during the next three seasons.
“I came to Kopperl in 2022 at the recommendation of a coaching friend as head boys basketball along with assistant football and baseball coach. This year, I’m excited to have the opportunity to be the head football coach of a good group of young men.”
Agreeing with Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine selection of defending district champion Morgan as the preseason favorite in District 10-1A, DII, Davis still sees the Bosque County rival Eagles as the team to beat behind the Bynum Bulldogs and Mount Calm Panthers.
“Morgan has been the kingpin in our district the last few years and are probably early favorites to repeat,” Davis said. “But I’m excited because we have basically the same group as last year. These boys are hungry for success, and I believe we will make a run at the playoffs.”
Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS
©2023 Southern Cross Creative, LLP. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.