Saturday, October 30, 2010


One streak is over. Another is still alive, and the Cooper Cougars couldn’t be happier about both.

The Coogs outscored Abilene High 21-0 in the second half to beat the No. 9 Eagles 45-28 on Friday to clinch at least a share of the District 3-5A title before a standing-room-only crowd at Shotwell Stadium.

Cooper snapped a six-game losing to the Eagles, while keeping their unbeaten season intact. The Coogs (9-0, 4-0) can win an outright district title with a victory next week at Midland High.

“We’ve got to feed off this now and carry this momentum with us,” Cooper coach Mike Spradlin said. “We’re in the same position we were a year go. We’ve got to make sure we don’t share this one with anybody.”

Abilene High coach Steve Warren was gracious after the loss.

“I congratulate Mike and that team over there,” he said. “They were ready to play, and they played well, and they earned the win tonight. I know how hard (a losing streak is). I’ve been on the other end of that before. You get on the back side of a streak like that, and it’s hard. I congratulate their staff and their players.”

Senior running back Alford Cooper ran for 129 yards and three touchdowns for the Coogs, while junior quarterback Clayton Nicholas threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns — both to Derek Footer — and ran for another.

Footer finished with five catches for 131 yards, while another senior, Khole Jackson, had 13 catches for 145 yards.

“This game was really on our offensive line,” Nicholas said. “I didn’t even get touched one time. They gave us great protection, and I put the ball where it needed to be for our receivers to catch it. Every receiver I threw to caught it.”

The Eagles (6-3, 3-1) got the game’s first touchdown, following a Cooper fumble. The turnover set up a one-yard touchdown run by Ronnell Sims. The teams would trade scores the rest of the half.

Sims ran for three touchdowns and threw for another, a 16-yard scoring catch to Jeret Smith, all in the first half.

Alford Cooper ran for a pair of touchdowns for the Coogs, and Nicholas threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Footer.

The touchdown pass to Footer came after the Eagles muffed a punt return. Cooper recovered the ball at the AHS 43 and needed one play to tie the game at 21 with 3:19 remaining in the half.

The Eagles would retake the lead on Sims’ seven-yard touchdown run with 1:14 to play in the half.

The Coogs, though, answered the score, driving from their own 13 to the Eagles 11 in eight plays to get a 28-yard field goal from Justin Lehr as time expired.

The kick cut the Eagles’ lead to four, 28-24, and Spradlin though it was huge, considering the Coogs would get the ball to start the second half.

“To get those points out of that was a big momentum shift for us,” he said. “A big, big drive.”

Sure enough, Cooper drove 86 yards on 12 plays to open the second half with a one-yard touchdown run by Nicholas to take the lead at 31-28.

The Coogs converted two 3rd-and-long plays on the drive. Facing 3rd-and-10 from the CHS 25, Nicholas threw a 16-yard pass to Jackson to keep the drive alive. Then facing 3rd-and-15 from the CHS 36, Nicholas again hooked up with Jackson, this time for a 43-yarder down to the AHS 21.

“What a great catch and great throw to keep that drive alive,” Spradlin said.

After forcing a punt on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half, the Coogs reeled off another 86-yard scoring drive. Footer started it with a 53-yard catch, and Alford Cooper capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run, putting the Coogs up 38-28 with 1:24 left in the third quarter.

The defense stepped up again, sacking Sims on a fourth-and-four play from the CHS 37. The Coogs then put the game away, closing out a 10-play, 57-yard drive with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Nicholas to Footer with 5:17 remaining in the game.

“A big win for our kids; A big win for our program,” Spradlin said. “I’ve got a ton of respect for Steve (Warren) and the job they do. Man, what a great year they’ve had, too. Who knows? Maybe we’ll see other again down the road.”

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a game!My husband and I listened to the online radio cheering all the way to the end!So proud of the Cooper Cougers!The boys(players & coaches)are doing a wonderful job!Can't wait till Friday when they face Midland High!Oh,I love your art work it's beautiful!See ya Friday!GO COOOOOGS!GOD is Good! Love & Blessings, Debbie McGehee