With three first-year starters on his defensive line, Cooper coach Aaron Roan had high hopes for his defensive front coming into the season. But they were at the time just that — hopes.
That D-line group had graduated a pair of all-district performers in nose guard Anthony Arellano (first-team) and end Noah Flowers (second-team) off last year’s team, and the Cooper staff found out shortly before fall camp that its most experienced returner — Michaelin Toney — would be transferring to Cedar Hill for his senior season.
So while Roan believed he had strong pieces with which to rebuild the defensive line, he wasn’t sure how those players would respond to expanded roles or how long it would take for that group to jell.
Fast forward to today, and the Cooper front has been one of the most consistent units for what has rapidly become a very strong defense. And those hopes Roan started the season with have evolved into expectations.