Magnolia West edges Friendswood in Koopmann's final game

FRIENDSWOOD — It won't be the same next year when the 2023 high school football season kicks off for the Friendswood Mustangs as head coach Robert Koopmann, who has been roaming the sideline as an assistant coach, and for the past 11 years as the head coach has announced his retirement.

Koopmann has been with the Mustangs for a total of 29 years. He concludes with a 79-46 overall record as the head coach from 2012-2022. The Mustangs, who were competing in one of the toughest 5A districts in the state, finished 4-6 this year and will miss the post-season.

Knowing they wouldn't be extending their season, the Mustangs still rallied to make an effort to finish strong and to attempt to send Koopmann out with a win. Though the Mustangs came up short, Koopmann still ended his coaching career at Friendswood with a team of winners as the Mustangs always displayed a no-quit attitude that exemplified the trait taught by Koopmann.

"That's our season. We're just a bunch of hard-working dudes," Koopmann said. "Those little mistakes add up, but man, we got after a good football team."

Magnolia West scored first on a 1-yard plunge by Terry Daniels for a 7-0 lead. The score was set up by a Friendswood fumble on the first snap of the game giving West the ball at the Friendswood 27-yard line. Nine plays later resulted in the first score of the game.

Another turnover plagued Friendswood as West blocked a punt after forcing the Mustangs to a three-and-out on its next series. Caylon Dygert blocked the punt and scooped up the ball for a 12-yard scoring return. Dygert also scored the two-point conversion giving West a 15-0 lead with :15 seconds left in the first quarter.

But the Mustangs weren't going away as they scored on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Matthew Dupuis orchestrated a 78-yard, 14-play scoring drive capped off by a 32-yard catch-and-run from Dupuis to tight end Hunter Smyrl to cut the lead to 15-6 following the missed PAT.

The Friendswood defense held West on their next series and the Mustangs went on another scoring drive as Dupuis fired a laser to Hayden Crowson for a 33-yard scoring strike to close the gap to 15-13 that stood at intermission.

Key plays in the scoring drive were pass completions to Walker Winters for 14 yards and Smyrl for 26-yards.

Friendswood came out in the second half and took the lead on a 1-yard plunge by Winters for a 19-15 advantage following the missed two-point conversion with 1:12 left in the third.

The touchdown was set up with a great catch by Smyrl for a 48-yard gain.

With 4:51 to play in the game, Magnolia West got a score on a 3-yard run by Kai Alcoa-Disdier to reclaim the lead 22-19 which would be the final score.

With the victory, Magnolia West (7-3 overall, 5-3 district) sewed up the No. 4 playoff seed from 10-5A Div I and will meet Ball High on Friday in the bi-district round of the UIL playoffs.