His first game leading the Cougars didn’t exactly go as planned as Cooper was beaten 41-15 by Class 6A Keller on Friday at Shotwell Stadium.
After the game, Roan said he learned a few things as the head coach that he will be able to improve on.
“There were a lot of adverse situations that may come up and the whole experience is new,” Roan said. “I learned from all of it.”
Keller won the coin toss and turned the opening kickoff into a seven-play, 66-yard touchdown drive that was capped by the first of Colton Nelson’s three touchdown catches from quarterback Sloan Henry.
Cooper lost a fumble on its opening possession at its own 10, and on the first play from scrimmage, Enoch Ntchobo punched it in to give the Indians a 15-0 lead with 8:43 left in the first quarter.
“Obviously it’s not the way that you want to start,” Roan said. “We came out slow and we got in a hole early and you can’t do that against good football teams. That’s one thing that we are going to learn from and we are going to work to eliminate.”
The Cougars responded with a 10-play scoring drive that was capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Aidan Thompson, who scrambled after not being able to find an open receiver.
The score cut Keller’s lead to 15-6 after a missed extra point with 4:53 left in the first quarter, but that would be as close as Cooper would get the rest of the night.
Keller responded just over a minute later with a 62-yard touchdown catch by Justin White.
After Cooper was stopped on downs at the Keller 12, the Indians needed just four plays to extend their lead to 28-6 on an 8-yard touchdown catch by Nelson.
A three-and-out by Cooper then allowed a first-play touchdown pass from Henry to Nelson 22 seconds into the second quarter.
As Cooper lined up to start its next possession, a bank of lights on the north end of Shotwell Stadium went out — evoking memories of last year’s Crosstown Showdown between Abilene High and Cooper, when all the lights went out.
“We were able to make some adjustments and challenge the kids a little bit (when the lights were out),” Roan said.
The delay was beneficial for the Cougars, who only allowed one more score the rest of the game — a first half-ending Hail Mary which was actually batted away by a Cooper defender, but White somehow came up with the catch to put the Indians up 41-6.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Cougars picked up a safety midway through the fourth when Keller elected to step out of the end zone instead of punting.
Cooper finished the scoring when Nic Bailey closed an 11-play drive with a 3-yard scoring run with 46 seconds to play.
The lengthy drive was a positive for Roan, as was the play of Thompson, who finished the night 18-of-39 passing for 142 yards.
“I think there is going to be a lot of positives that we see out of Aidan because he stayed cool and calm,” said Roan. “It was good to finish and our kids kept fighting, scratching and clawing, and that’s what we told them (to do) at halftime.”
KELLER 41, COOPER 15
KEL — Colton Nelson 15 pass from Sloan Henry (Connor Majewski kick), 9:43
KEL — Enoch Ntchobo 10 run (Justin White pass from Henry), 8:43
COO — Aidan Thompson 4 run (kick failed), 4:53
KEL — White 62 pass from Henry (kick failed), 3:47
KEL — Nelson 8 pass from Henry (Majewski kick), 1:19
KEL — Nelson 43 pass from Henry (kick blocked), 11:38
KEL — White 44 pass from Henry (Majewski kick), :00
COO — Safety, punter ran out of end zone, 5:59
COO — Nic Bailey 3 run (Michael Rangel kick), 0:46
RUSHING — Keller, Enoch Ntchobo 11-53, Nakoa Rios 8-16, Team 1-0, Justin White 1-(-2), Sloan Henry 2-(-9). Cooper, Nic Bailey 15-62, Daelin Campos 4-51, Noah Garcia 9-49, Jessus Menjivar 6-18, Isiah Boutte 1-1, Aidan Thompson 6-(-26), Team 1-(-16).
PASSING — Keller, Henry 15-23-0—357, Jaxson Cope 0-1-0—0. Cooper, Thompson 18-39-0—142.
RECEIVING — Keller, Damon Smith 6-127, Justin White 4-116, Colton Nelson 5-111. Cooper, Campos 4-47, Nyjil Williams 4-35, Mason Reynolds 3-35, Menjivar 1-18, Braiden Hill 2-11, Garcia 1-5, Bailey 3-(minus-9).
RECORDS — Keller 1-0, Cooper 0-1.