GAME STORY: Garcia, Cooper gut out 35-28 win over Azle to advance to third round

STEPHENVILLE — The Cooper football team had its fortitude checked on one occasion after another in its area-round clash with Azle on Friday at Tarleton Memorial Stadium. Each time, the Cougars proved up to the challenge.

After seeing the Hornets rally from a 28-7 halftime deficit to pull within a touchdown in the third quarter, coach Aaron Roan’s squad stood tall in the fourth to secure a hard-fought 35-28 victory and advance to the Region I-5A Division I semifinals, where they’ll take on the winner of Saturday’s game between Denton Ryan and Lubbock Coronado.

Fueled on offense by Noah Garcia, who overcame an asthma attack to deliver a legendary performance, the Coogs still needed eight turnovers on defense to hold off an inspired Azle comeback. But coach Aaron Roan’s squad forced every one of those, bringing a physicality to the table that the Hornets struggled to match early in the contest.

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