Sunday, November 29, 2009

A special thanks from the Coach's wife!

This morning, it is hard to accept, but the '09 season has come to a close. Saying goodbye is never easy but this year's team will make it more even more difficult! Looking back over the past eleven months it is easy to see why the '09 Cooper Football Team will be fondly remembered. Last January, the seniors with focus and determination began their season. With unmatched effort and unselfishness they grew into a strong family....a 'band of brothers'. Talented and disciplined they fought their way to the top of District 4-4A to win outright the District Championship, for the first time since '03. Battling on, they added Bi- District and Area Championships to their list of accomplishments.

To all of the fans, friends, and faculty that supported....we thank you!

To the Cooper Band, drill team, cheerleaders and pep squad that played and cheered...we thank you! You make everything more fun!

To the Dad's and Mom's, and families that loved....we thank you!

To "Doc", the trainers, filmers that helped....we thank you!

To the coaches wives and children that understood....we thank you!

To all the coaches, you made a difference and we thank you!

...and to the 2009 Cooper Football Team that inspired us...we thank you!
It was a satisfying season. One we'll always remember!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mike Spradlin’s voice broke as he tried to hold back the tears. Saying goodbye to this group of Cooper seniors wasn’t easy for the Cougars’ coach.
Yet, say goodbye he did.
J.W. Walsh threw three touchdown passes and ran for three more as Denton Guyer rolled past Cooper, 57-34, in a Class 4A Division I Region I semifinal game Saturday at Shotwell Stadium.
Walsh completed 8-of-9 passes for 143 yards, and he also ran for 113 yards on 14 carries. Running back Jaimaine Wilhite added 109 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Guyer (12-1) rolled up 384 total yards, including 241 on the ground. Cooper (9-4) had 495 yards, but turned the ball over three times.
Guyer had no turnovers.
It’s the second straight year Guyer ended Cooper’s season in the region semifinals. Last year, the Wildcats beat Cooper 28-7 in Aledo.
This time, that was the halftime score. Cooper spotted Guyer 28 unanswered points in the first half, including 14 off turnovers — a blocked punt and a fumbled kickoff return.
“They’re way too good to do that,” Spradlin said about the early deficit. “The thing is, we did it with some mistakes we haven’t made. The blocked (punt) is the first one we’ve had (this season), and then the fumble. They got (14) points off real short fields there.”
The Coogs would outscore the Wildcats 34-29 the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough for another magical comeback like a week earlier against El Paso Del Valle, when Cooper rallied from a 24-0 deficit early in the second quarter for a 51-41 victory.
“This bunch, they never laid down,” Spradlin said. “That’s what was cool about this group. There was a point there going into the fourth quarter I was thinking, ‘Man, we’re going to win this thing.’ I think (our players) were thinking they were going to win it, too.”
It was another tough ending for Cooper quarterback Ryan Heslep and this group of seniors.
“We didn’t accomplish our goal,” he said. “We set out to win a state championship, and we just came up short today.”
Heslep threw for 296 yards, becoming Cooper’s all-time career leader with 4,822 yards in two seasons. His three touchdown passes Saturday left him with 46 for his career — two shy of the all-time record. The senior also ran for 90 yards on 12 carries.
Cooper (9-4) got a late touchdown in the first half — a 3-yard touchdown pass from Heslep to John Harvey — to make it a 28-7 Guyer lead at the break, and the Coogs scored the first touchdown of the second half — a 6-yard run by Alford Cooper — to cut the lead in half at 28-14.
But Guyer responded with a six-play, 70-yard drive. Walsh capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Moore.
Then the bottom fell out. Jon King returned a fumble 37 yards for another Wildcats touchdown less than two minutes later for a 42-14 Guyer lead. Heslep tried to throw a lateral to Alford Cooper out on the left flat on a third-and-10 play at the Coog 46 but the ball fell incomplete. King scooped the live ball at the 37 and ran for the score.
The Coogs answered with an eight-play, 69-drive drive as Heselp threw his second touchdown pass of the day to Harvey, a 14-yarder, with 1:46 left in the third quarter.
Spradlin then tried an onside kick, and it turned out to be a big play for the Wildcats not the Coogs. Josh Stewart grabbed the ball at the Guyer 45 and raced 46 yards down to the Cooper 9. One play later, Walsh ran for his third touchdown of the day.
What kind of day was it for the Wildcats? They botched the ensuing PAT, thanks to a high snap, but holder Luke Russell improvised and threw a pass to Moore for the two-point conversion — giving Guyer a 50-21 lead.
Davon Riddick ripped off a 65-yard touchdown run for Cooper but the Coogs could only trade touchdowns with the Wildcats in the fourth quarter. Walsh threw his final touchdown pass of the day, a 22-yarder to Russell, to culminate a 13-play, 80-yard drive, and Heslep threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Alford Cooper with 3:10 left in the game.
“I think the drive they started in the fourth quarter was kind of the back-breaker,” Spradlin said. “At least we still had hope. They went a long time there, scored and that was tough. But that’s a good football team. I think we were, too. We were in the elite part of the playoffs.”
Cooper’s season might still be alive had it not been for its first-half woes. Cooper forced Guyer to punt on its first possession and the Coogs marched to the Wildcats 27. They even got down to the 15 on a pass to Alford Cooper but the play was pushed back to the 31 on an illegal block penalty. The drive then died, thanks to two illegal procedure penalties.
Guyer answered with a 9-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Wilhite ran 13 yards for the game’s first touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first half.
The Wildcats never trailed.
Cooper, the District 4 champion, would close the gap to 14, but couldn’t get any closer — or stop Guyer enough times the rest of the way. Spradlin let his emotions flow afterward as the Cooper faithful filed out of the stadium.
“I’ve worked 26 years to get to coach this group — a group that was really unselfish,” Spradlin said, his voice breaking with emotion. “We’ve really worked that band of brothers thing and the team thing, all that kind of stuff. Man, this was a great group for us.
“I can honestly look anybody in the eye and say, ‘I’ve coached 26 years, and this is my favorite group I’ve ever coached.” And they’ve set a standard for the guys to come for many years.”

Friday, November 27, 2009


During the Thanksgiving holiday, there's nothing more fun than eating turkey and scoring touchdowns! The Cooper Cougars, Area Champs are thankful to line up against the Guyer Wildcats tomorrow at Shotwell Stadium @ 2:00. The only show in town, fans and friends are sure to turn out in large numbers for an exciting West Texas showdown!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Class 4A playoffs: Cooper rallies from 24 down
JOEY D. RICHARDs / 325-670-5213
Posted November 21, 2009 at 11:11 p.m.

MIDLAND — Down 24-0 early in the second quarter Saturday, Cooper quarterback Ryan Heslep was determined this wasn’t how his senior year was going to end. Heslep came back to throw four touchdown passes, including two to senior Reese Williams, and Alford Cooper ran for two touchdowns as the Cooper Cougars pulled out a wild 51-41 victory over the Del Valle Conquistadores in a Class 4A Division I area-round playoff game at Grande Communications Stadium.">
photos by Thomas Metthe/Reporter-News
Cooper running back Davon Riddisck (37) shakes off an El Paso Del Valle defender during the second quarter of the Region I-4A area round playoff game Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.

Thomas Metthe/Reporter-News Cooper defensive lineman Quincy Moore (40) sacks El Paso Del Valle quarterback Jordan Baeza (10) during the second quarter of the Region I-4A area round playoff game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009, at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.

Below: Cooper tight end Reese Williams (11) sprints past El Paso Del Valle defenders for a 32-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.

Thomas Metthe/Reporter-News Cooper quarterback Ryan Heslep (14) dives for extra yardage between El Paso Del Valle defenders during the second quarter of the Region I-4A area round playoff game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009, at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland.
MIDLAND — Down 24-0 early in the second quarter Saturday, Cooper quarterback Ryan Heslep was determined this wasn’t how his senior year was going to end.
Heslep came back to throw four touchdown passes, including two to senior Reese Williams, and Alford Cooper ran for two touchdowns as the Cooper Cougars pulled out a wild 51-41 victory over the Del Valle Conquistadores in a Class 4A Division I area-round playoff game at Grande Communications Stadium.
“This is my senior season, and we made a pact last night at the team meetings that we weren’t going to go out without a ring on our fingers,” said Heslep, who threw for 279 yards and one interception. “We just regrouped and kept our composure, and we just went out there and did our thing. We came out with a win. It wasn’t pretty, but it was win.”
Cooper scored 24 unanswered points in the second quarter for a 24-24 tie at the half. But the Coogs still had to outscore Del Valle 20-7 in the final 15:08 of the game to pull out the victory.
“I’m just proud of our character and poise for coming back and winning,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said.
Cooper (9-3) advances to play Denton Guyer (11-1) in the Region I semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shotwell Stadium. Guyer beat Mansfield Legacy, 42-21, on Friday.
Early on, it seemed liked everything that could go wrong for Cooper did go wrong.
Jordan Baeza threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another as Del Valle (9-3) rolled to a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter — all but three of the points were set up by short field position after two fumbles and an interception.
Spradlin, though, said his team didn’t panic — not after being down 31-7 at the half against Class 5A Lewisville Hebron earlier this year and actually coming back to lead that game before giving up a late touchdown.
“We’ve been here before,” Spradlin said. “That’s one of those things where I think we were able to draw back on that.”
Cooper didn’t have to wait until the second half to comeback — scoring 24 unanswered points in the final 7:16 of the half.
Alford Cooper caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Heslep to get the rally started, capping a seven-play, 75-yard drive.
Khole Jackson returned a punt 23 yards down to the Del Valle 32. On the next play, Williams caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Heslep, cutting the deficit in half with 5:58 left in the half.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Cooper recovered a Del Valle fumble at the Conquistadores’ 22. That set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Riddick.
Then as time expired in the half, Ryan Lucas booted a 28-yard field goal to tie things up at 24.
“I thought the drive before the half to tie it up was huge,” Spradlin said. “Now, you’ve got a zero-zero thing again, and here you go.”
The shootout continued in the second half. Baeza threw a 43-yard pass to Rudy Tueckmantel, down to the Cooper 1, and then Baeza ran for the touchdown.
Cooper answered with a quick touchdown. Tommy Bowman, who fumbled a punt earlier in the game, returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards to the Del Valle 37. Two plays later, Williams caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Heslep, tying it at 31 with 7:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Edgar Salcido put Del Valle back up 34-31 with a 50-yard field goal — his second field goal of the night — a little more than two minutes later, but Cooper took its first lead of the game on Alford Cooper’s 6-yard touchdown run with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
In a bit of déjà vu, just on the other side of the ball, Del Valle went for it on fourth-and-1 at the Cooper 35. Baeza, though fumbled the ball, and a Del Valle player recovered, but by game rules, couldn’t advance the ball. Cooper took over on downs.
The same play happened to the Coogs in the first half on a fourth-and-1 play at the Cooper 40.
Three plays after the Del Valle fumble, Heslep threw his fourth touchdown pass of the night, an 18-yarder to Jackson with 9:52 remaining in the game.
Cooper recovered a bad snap on a Del Valle punt attempt at the Conquistadores’ 32, and Alford Cooper later ran 9 yards for his third touchdown of the night.
Baeza threw a late touchdown to Jon Jon Hernandez for Del Valle’s final score.
“I’m just real, real proud of our kids,” Spradlin said. “This is a great second-round win for us.”
Cooper 0 24 14 13—51
Del Valle 17 7 10 7—41

Area Champs!

Woohoo!!! Just got home from Midland Texas, where the Cooper Coogs won their 2nd playoff game and won the Area Championship, 51-41 against El Paso Del Valle. Next week CHS will play Denton Gueyer at 2:00 at Shotwell Stadium.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week 12

Anticipation mounts, as week 12 unfolds and the Cooper Cougars continue to prepare as they have from the beginning. Back in January, they collectively had a dream and every day since, have worked hard to make that dream come true.
*With respect, they have listened and learned.
*With dedication, they are united in focus and effort.
*With determination, they daily bring their personal best.
*With discipline, they combine their strength.
*With one heart, they work toward a common goal.
I smile as I type this, knowing that some may assume I copied the above from a manual or perhaps the locker room walls. Others may think I am knowledgeable about the game of football. Truth is, I am neither. The list came easily to me because for many years, I've had the privilege of observing from a front row seat a man that lives such a life.
I don't spend a lot of time at the field house. My visits are short and sweet. When I do however, have the opportunity to stand among these young men and their coaches, I am always touched by what I observe. Namely the respect that passes between them. Also a quiet confidence, that is shared by all. Each of them has been tested therefore trust is in place. They are like a family. They can count on each other. They are brothers in the truest sense.....they compete for one another.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

LUBBOCK — The Cooper Cougars turned to the elements to exorcise its Demons.
Davon Riddick, Kendrick Powdrill and Alford Cooper — nicknamed Earth, Wind and Fire respectively — combined for 335 yards and four touchdowns as the Cougars expelled the Dumas Demons 52-14 in a Class 4A Division I bidistrict playoff game Saturday at Lowrey Field.

“That’s pretty good,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said. “Of course, that doesn’t happen without our guys up front. I think our receivers did a great job of blocking on the perimeter. We ran some stretches and things like that.

“Boy, that’s what I’ve been saying about those three guys. They’ve all got special talents and special things they do. I was real proud of what they did today. All three of them.”

Cooper (8-3) plays El Paso Del Valle (9-2) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in a second-round playoff game at Grande Communications Center in Midland.
Last year, Cooper beat Del Valle 56-10 in the second round in Odessa.
Saturday’s game will be the first of a doubleheader. Abilene High plays El Paso Coronado at 1 p.m.

Riddick (aka Earth) buried Dumas with a game-high 132 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, including 120 yards on eight carries in the first half.

“It was really exciting, and I was kind of nervous at first, because it’s my first playoff game,” he said. “But once I got going, it was just another game.”

Cooper (aka Fire) burned the Demons for 119 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, including 98 yards on 11 carries in the first half.

“It was pretty fun doing what we do,” Cooper said. “Coach was talking to us before the game, just do it like we do in practice. Just run.”And Powdrill (aka Wind) breezed to 84 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Overall, the Coogs rolled up 399 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Quarterback Ryan Heslep, Sammy Beall and Derrick Footer each ran for touchdowns.
“We can throw the ball,” Heslep said. “But when the running game’s working and you’re pounding a team like that, you might as well stick with it, especially if we can get a win.”
The Coogs didn’t do too badly passing the ball either. Heslep completed 16-of-24 passes for 184 yards and no interceptions. Khole Jackson had five catches for 67 yards and Reese Williams had five more for 60 yards.
The Coogs, who had 583 total yards, scored on their first six possessions, including all five in the first half, as they cruised to a 38-0 lead.
Riddick scored the Coogs’ first two touchdowns on runs of 39 and 11 yards — the latter on a fourth-and-goal play to start the second quarter.
Ryan Lucas booted a 25-yard field goal, and Cooper and Heslep each ran for a touchdown of 4 and 5 yards respectively for a 31-0 halftime lead.
After Powdrill got a 5-yard touchdown run on Cooper’s first possession of the second half, Dumas (4-7) answered with consecutive touchdowns. Backup quarterback Clayton Baker hooked up with Andres Baskin for TD passes of 31 and 35 yards.
Baker, who took over for starter Aaron Thomas late in the first half, completed 15-of-34 passes for 234 yards — including four for 62 yards to Thomas.
The Demons had just 39 yards rushing.
The Coogs got two fourth-quarter touchdown runs — a 9-yarder on a reverse by Beall and a 7-yarder from Footer.
Dumas has primarily been a running team this season, and Spradlin said the Coogs didn’t expect that kind of passing effort from the Demons. “It caught us off guard a little bit,” he said. “We didn’t handle it as well as we’d like to, but we knuckled down and went to back to work and things worked out well.”
Dumas 0 0 14 0—14
Cooper 7 24 7 14—52
Joey Richards

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Playoffs....1st round!

Last night hundreds of Cooper fans turned out for a 'friday night lights' pep rally. Fiddlers, cheerleaders, the band, drum corp, drill team, pep squad, students, faculty and lots of fans cheered on the Cougars on the eve before their 1st playoff game. Following the pep rally, the team moved the celebration to Southern Hills Church, for a hamburger supper, inspiring videos and motivational messages. It was a fun evening!
But the fun wasn't over because Brokaw Landscape had hung red, white and blue lights on our house which brightened up the neighborhood!
This morning loyal fans made the 2 hour and 45 minute trek to Lubbock Texas to watch the Coogs beat Dumas High School 52-14.

Now, Cooper is the official 4-A Bi-District Champions. Good stuff!!!
...for a great community of family, fans and friends.

Sweet victory, for an amazing team of young men!
Congratulations, we are proud of you!

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Thursday, November 12, 2009




Saturday, November 7, 2009


The Cooper Cougars are undisputed champions of District 4-4A.

The Coogs left no doubt, routing Plainview 48-3 on Friday at Shotwell Stadium, completing a 5-0 run through district play.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said. “I’m so proud of our guys. They bought in. They deserved it.
“A lot of people maybe thought we were caught up in the moment. We wanted to win this thing outright. We didn’t want to share that thing with anybody, and we knew that put a target on us. Boy, I thought our guys responded.”

Quarterback Ryan Heslep threw for 308 yards and five touchdowns, including 263 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.
“I came out real motivated because their coach in their newspaper said I reminded them of Pampa’s quarterback, but I wasn’t very accurate,” Heslep said. “That motivated me. I think 260 (yards) in the first half and five touchdowns overall is pretty accurate."

Heslep, who left after throwing his fifth touchdown pass of the night on the first series of the second half, completed 17-of-21 passes with no interceptions.
Cooper’s defense held the Bulldogs (2-8 overall, 0-5 district) to 205 total yards and recorded two sacks.
Cooper, 7-3 overall, opens the Class 4A Division I playoffs at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lowrey Field in Lubbock, most likely against Dumas.

Cooper had to run only 15 plays to score on its first five possessions for a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter.
“I like that,” Spradlin said. “Boy, Davon (Riddick) went off early, and Ryan did a great job executing our offense. (The offensive line) did a good job up front. They (Plainview) blitzed. I knew they’d bring the house every down. Our guys did a good job picking the stuff up. A great game for us going into the playoffs.”
The Coogs needed only three plays to cover 36 yards on their first possession, culminating in a 20-yard TD run by Riddick.

he next time Cooper touched the ball, the Coogs needed six plays to cover 76 yards. Heslep threw a 5-yard TD pass to John Harvey.
Heslep would come back to throw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Riddick to cap a three-play, 88-yard drive.
Then just before the end of the first quarter, Cooper recovered a fumble at the Plainview 6-yard line. One play later, Heslep threw a 6-yard TD pass to Reese Williams, as the Coogs to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter.
Tommy Bowman capped the scoring in the first half with a 40-yard TD pass from Heslep with 9:41 remaining before the break. Bowman had both catches on the two-play, 70-yard drive.
Cooper opened the second half with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Alford Cooper caught a 42-yard TD pass from Heslep, pushing the Coogs’ lead to 41-0.
Plainview’s lone points came on Gustavo Molina’s 41-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Kendrick Powdrill closed the scoring with a 13-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
“We got a chance to play a lot of guys,” Spradlin said. “It was a great night for us. A great way to wrap up the district and get ready for the third season.”
Plainview 0 0 3 0—3
Cooper 28 7 6 7—48

Joey Richards

Friday, November 6, 2009


Abilene Cooper beat Plainview High tonight 48-3, to outright win the 4-4A District Championship. Playoff bound, the Cougars will play Dumans in Lubbock @ Lowery Field at 2:00, Saturday. Congratulations Coogs!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

4-4A district title would be the perfect ending to Coopers regular season play!

Ryan Heslep never could have imagined this — not after winning one football game his seventh- and eighth-grade seasons at Madison Middle School. Now, Heslep and the Cooper Cougars have clinched at least a share of the District 4-4A title — and they can win it outright Friday with a victory over Plainview at Shotwell Stadium.
“We were talking the other day, we would have never thought about (winning a district title),” said Heslep, Cooper’s senior quarterback. “But we all got together, made a goal to win, and we stuck to it. We made each other accountable, and we went out there and did it.”
It’s been a wild ride for the Cougars. When Mike Spradlin took over as head coach in 2006, the Coogs hadn’t posted a winning season since going 6-5 in 2003 — the last year they won a district title or reached the playoffs.
Now, they’ve clinched their third straight trip to the playoffs and second straight winning season — and a district title to boot.
“It’s crazy,” said Tommy Bowman, a senior receiver. “Before Sprad came, I was in middle school and would come up and watch. It wasn’t that good. Us seniors never thought we’d come to Cooper and get (a title) again. None of us ever expected that, and it’s cool being the one to get the district ball back.”

Yet, Bowman sensed a change when he made the jump to Cooper. His freshman year was Spradlin’s first as head coach at Cooper.
“We came in as freshmen, Sprad’s first year, and he said he was going to turn things around,” Bowman said. “He pretty much did. As the four years went on as we came up, it’s been gradually getting better and better. We almost had it last year. This year, our senior year, to finally win it feels really good.”
Cooper went 4-6 overall and 1-4 in District 3-5A in 2006. The Coogs were 5-6 in 2007, but made the playoffs with a 1-4 record. Manfield Timberview beat Cooper 17-13 in the first round of the playoffs.
Last year, Cooper’s first in Class 4A, the Coogs won their first playoff game since 2002 and went three rounds in the playoffs before falling to Denton Guyer, 28-7, to finish 8-5 overall. Cooper was 4-1 in district, losing to Wolfforth Frenship, 16-10.
Now, only Plainview (2-7, 0-4) stands between Cooper (6-3, 4-0) and an outright title.
“Last year was a good year for us,” Spradlin said. “No question about it. Got the train started. Just to have the opportunity to get a gold district championship football is a big deal. We’ll sure enjoy that when the season’s over. It’s a sense of accomplishment, but not a satisfying thing right now. There’s too much left to do out there.”
Still, it’s hard for the Coogs not to relish what they’ve accomplished so far. This group of seniors have set the bar high for those that follow.
“It means a lot to us, doing something nobody’s done since 2003,” said T.C. Robinson, a senior defensive back who’ll play at Baylor next year. “We’re just setting a new standard at Cooper High School for the students coming after us.”
Added Heslep: “It’s kind of cool. Growing up, Cooper had such a great tradition. Then we kind of lost it for a while. It’s kind of cool being a part of bringing that back, restoring that tradition. That’s kind of a cool thing to do, but we just want to win games.”
Joey Richards

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hear the Roar!

With the playoffs secured, this Friday night @ Shotwell Stadium the Cooper Cougars take on the Plainview Bulldogs. A win, will assure the Cougars a 4-4A District Championship. The 1st since 2003. The Bulldogs will roll into town ready to play so wear your red and blue, come on out and cheer on the CHS Champions