Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cooper 56 - Lubbock Coronado 21

Alford Cooper made up for lost time Friday night.

After sitting out two games with a twisted ankle, the Cooper senior ran for 132 yards and four touchdowns — all in the first half — to power the unbeaten Cougars past Lubbock Coronado 56-21 on a wet homecoming at Shotwell Stadium.

“It feels great,” Cooper said. “Those two weeks I was out was killing me. It feels great to be back, and I’m glad to be back.”

Cooper, who was injured on the Coogs’ first possession against Austin Westlake in the second game of the season, ran for touchdowns of 11 and 4 yards and twice from a yard out. His entire yardage came in the first half on 11 carries.

“He did pretty good,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said. “I told him everybody has kind of forgotten about you. You’re going to have to remind them that you’re still around. He and Davon (Riddick) both ran well.”

Riddick ran for touchdowns of 18 and four yards and finished with 64 yards on seven carries. Khole Jackson also returned a punt 28 yards for a touchdown, and Clayton Nicholas threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Khaeer Sonnier.

Nicholas, who played only the first half, completed 10-of-16 passes for 164 yards. Cooper didn’t have a turnover.

All of the Coogs’ points came in the first half, including 42 in the second quarter. None of the team’s offensive starters played in the second half, and the first-team defense played only one series.

“The first half, I think that’s about the best we could be,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said. “We got a chance to get a lot of kids in. It got a little sloppy there in the second half, but that’s the way it’s going to be.”

Cooper wrapped up nondistrict play with a 5-0 record. It’s their best start since going 12-1 in 2002. The Coogs have a bye next week, before opening District 3-5A play at Midland Lee in their return to the Little Southwest Conference after two years in Class 4A.

“It’s momentum,” Spradlin said. “We wanted to make a statement going into district, and I think we did. We certainly did in the first half. I feel good about it.”

Coronado (1-4) scored all of its points in the fourth quarter against Cooper’s reserves. Banner Owen ran for a pair of two-yard touchdowns, and Brennan Johnson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Grayson Young.

Three Coronado turnovers fueled the Coogs’ second-quarter outburst.

“I loved the turnover deal tonight,” Spradlin said. “It was outstanding.”

Josh Bowman, who got his team’s first pick last week against Lubbock High, got picks on back-to-back Mustang possessions with Cooper up 21-0 in the second quarter. The first interception set Cooper up at the Mustang 21, and four plays later Cooper ran one yard for his third touchdown. Bowman’s next pick gave the Coogs the ball at the Mustang 31. Two plays later, Riddick ran 18 yards for a touchdown.

“I was happy that I got them,” Bowman said of the interceptions. “I dropped my first one (tonight). When I caught those two, it just lightened the game up.”

On Coronado’s next possession, the Mustangs fumbled the ball away, and Cooper’s Ty Robinson came up with the ball, giving the Coogs the ball at the Mustang 39. The Coogs needed four plays to get a 27-yard touchdown pass from Nicholas to Sonnier.

“Cooper is a great football team, and we didn’t do things you’re going to have to do to stay with that in the first half,” Coronado coach Butch Henderson said. “Defensively, I think we played well at times. Offensively, we didn’t take the ball and move the ball. That’s what we’ve got to be able to do. But that’s not to take anything away from them. They’re a great football team.”
Written by Joey Richards
Photos Abilene Reporter News

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