Category: Cooper Cougars

BCP Podcast No. 74: Evan and Dan talk state football semifinals and area hoops

In this episode, Daniel and partner Evan Ren discuss last week’s playoff football results, this week’s state semifinal matchups involving area squads and some Big Country hoops. 

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie boys, girls sweep Central on home floor

The Wylie girls basketball team used a strong first half to build a comfortable lead and held on through some offensive struggles in the second to secure a 28-22 win over San Angelo Central on Tuesday at Bulldog Gym.

The Lady Bulldogs outscored the Lady Cats 12-5 in the first quarter and 11-8 in the second to take a 10-point lead into halftime before going cold late. Wylie scored just three points in the third quarter and two in the fourth but did enough on the defensive end to improve to 8-6 with the win.

Continue reading “LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie boys, girls sweep Central on home floor”

BCP PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Merkel’s Pursley earns this week’s top spot

It’s one thing to play great against teams from your own classification. But when one plays at a high level against programs much larger than his or her own, it tends to grab everyone’s attention. 

Merkel senior guard Kaydi Pursley, who has already been on the media’s radar for more than two years, may have just upped her assessed value even more (if that’s possible). 

Purlsey, who helped the Lady Badgers to a 4-1 mark last week, including a 3-1 finish at the Granbury tournament, put up big numbersagainst some big schools along the way to earn our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award. 

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fort Worth Wyatt wins Cane’s Key City Classic, AHS drops third-place game

The Raising Cane’s Key City Classic came to a close on Saturday at Abilene High’s Eagle Gym and Cooper’s Cougar Gym with all three local high schools fighting to the end of the three-day tournament with impressive showings.

Fort Worth Wyatt won the championship with a second-half comeback for a 56-51 win over Midland Christian at AHS to close out the tournament.

The host Eagles and Cougars saw their tournaments end with tough losses, while Wylie got a much needed confidence boost with a win over Burnet.

AHS fell in the third-place game 49-38 to North Crowley. Wylie, meanwhile, had no issues with Burnet in a 86-47 runaway at Eagle Gym, and Cooper fell in the seventh-place game 72-66 to Justin Northwest at Cougar Gym. Continue reading “TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Fort Worth Wyatt wins Cane’s Key City Classic, AHS drops third-place game”

TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: AHS, Wylie go 1-1 on Day 2 of Cane’s Key City Classic

A busy second day of the Cane’s Key City Classic saw the Abilene High boys split two games against top-25 teams in Class 5A, Wylie pick up its first win of the tournament and Cooper fall to Midland Christian as well as Class 3A’s No. 11-ranked Peaster.

The Eagles beat No. 23 Justin Northwest 68-64 in the quarterfinals before running out of steam in the second half of a 60-45 loss to No. 8 Fort Worth Wyatt at Eagle Gym. Abilene High faces North Crowley at noon Saturday in the third-place game at AHS.

Wylie lost 58-38 in the consolation quarterfinals to Granbury North Central Texas Academy before bouncing back with a 43-35 win over El Paso Burges. The Bulldogs will look to end the tournament on a high note in their 9 a.m. game at AHS against Burnet.

Cooper, meanwhile, struggled in its quarterfinal in a 73-51 loss to Midland Christian. In their nightcap, the Cougars mounted a late rally before Peaster pulled away late for a 63-56 win. The Coogs will face Justin Northwest at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Cougar Gym in the seventh-place game.

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TOURNAMENT CENTRAL: Abilene High, Cooper win openers at Cane’s Key City Classic

The Abilene High and Cooper boys basketball teams earned their way into the championship bracket of the Cane’s Key City Classic on Thursday, winning their first-round matchups over Del Rio and Saginaw Boswell, respectively.

The Eagles ran away from the Rams over the middle two quarters for a 78-47 victory at Eagle Gym, while the Cougars used a strong fourth period to beat the Pioneers 55-41 and claim their first win of the season.

AHS (6-1) and Cooper (1-4) will be joined in the championship bracket by Fort Worth Wyatt, Northwest Eaton, Justin Northwest, Peaster, North Crowley and Midland Christian, which also came away with first-round wins on the Classic’s first day.

Wylie, which fell 59-47 to Eaton in its tournament opener Thursday, will play in the consolation bracket with Granbury North Central Texas Academy, Del Rio, El Paso Burges, McKinney Boyd, Midland Lee, Boswell and Burnet.

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BCP Podcast No. 73: AHS’ Justin Reese checks in to talk Eagle hoops, Cane’s Key City Classic

As a former Abilene High Eagle himself, second-year AHS boys basketball coach Justin Reese has a strong desire to return the Eagle program to the glory it enjoyed in the 1980s and 90s. And for him, a big part of that is bringing back some of the traditions that helped make the AHS program what it was.

One of those was Abilene ISD’s Key City Classic, which is back for the first time in decades thanks in large part to Reese, who made it a priority upon his hiring to bring a high-profile tournament back to town. With the first Cane’s Key City Classic set to tip off Thursday, Reese took a few minutes to chat with Big Country Preps Daniel Youngblood about the tournament, his return to Abilene and this year’s Eagle team for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Daniel and partner Evan Ren discuss last week’s playoff football results and this week’s region championship game matchups involving area squads. 

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

PREVIEW: Cane’s Key City Classic set to tip off Thursday

The Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie boys basketball teams will all be in action Thursday when the first Cane’s Key City Classic tips off at the Abilene High and Cooper gymnasiums.

The tournament, the reimagining of an annual event that Abilene ISD hosted in the past, will bring some of the top programs in the state to Abilene for a weekend of basketball that will feature 32 games between the two sites.

In addition to the local high schools, the star-studded field will also feature teams from Fort Worth Wyatt, Granbury North Central Texas Academy, Northwest Eaton, Del Rio, Justin Northwest, El Paso Burges, Peaster, McKinney Boyd, Midland Lee, North Crowley, Saginaw Boswell, Burnet and Midland Christian.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hamlin’s Williams snags the award

He only had 15 carries on the day. But for Hamlin senior running back Jevon Williams, it was more than enough touches to earn our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award for a second time this season. 

Helping the Pied Pipers to a 56-22 rout of Wheeler, Williams tallied 196 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He also added a 17-yard pass reception and a 42-yard punt return. 

Leading 22-21, Hamlin took control with five straight touchdowns between the 2:18 mark of the second quarter and the 5:18 mark of the fourth. 

Williams scored all five them, with runs of 4, 20, 65, 8 and 2 yards. 

With the win, Hamlin (10-2) advances to face Wellington (12-1) for the Region II-2A Division II championship at 7 p.m. Friday in Vernon. 

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GAME STORY: Denton Ryan ends Cooper’s season with 58-20 win

DENTON — The Cooper Cougars got off to about as strong a start as they could have hoped for Friday in their Region I-5A Division I semifinal matchup against Denton Ryan. But once the Raiders got going, they never let up in a 58-20 win on a mist-soaked field at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

After intercepting Ryan quarterback Seth Henigan on the second play of the game and scoring on a 24-yard run by Noah Garcia to go up 7-0, Cooper surrendered 44 unanswered points — 30 of those before halftime — to close their season at 11-2.

The game was tied at 7-all at the end of the first quarter, but a 23-0 Raider run through the second quarter put the Coogs in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.

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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: 12 Big Country teams still have a shot at December football

LAST WEEK: 12-3, .800

SEASON TOTAL: 475-90, .841

Entering Thanksgiving weekend with 12 football teams that are still alive, the Big Country has a solid opportunity to push multiple clubs into December. 

As one would expect, everything at this point will be a difficult hurdle and it will only get tougher from this point forward. 

Before I dive into this week’s playoff forecast, we at BigCountryPreps.com would like to extend our wishes to you for the happiest of Thanksgivings.

That said, let’s have a look at this week’s games. 

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BCP Podcast No. 72: Hawley’s Mitch Ables talks Bearcats football with Evan, Daniel

During his time at Hawley, Mitch Ables has steadily built the long-suffering Bearcat football program into an area contender. This year, he has the ‘Cats on their deepest run ever after the first area-round playoff victory in program history over defending state runner-up New Deal last Friday.

Earlier this week, Ables took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about this year’s team, which is unbeaten heading into Friday’s Region I-2A Division I semifinal matchup against Sundown (8-4), for the Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode Evan and Daniel discuss their takeaways from the second round of the high school football playoffs and preview this week’s third round.

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Cougars rally but fall short, Eagles can’t sustain fast start

Trailing Lubbock Cooper 41-29 after three quarters, the Abilene Cooper boys basketball team rallied in the fourth to make a game of it. But a barrage of late 3-pointers wasn’t quite enough in a 56-54 loss Tuesday at Cougar Gym. 

Kaden Davis banked in a 3 with just a couple of seconds left to trim the deficit to two. But with no timeouts remaining, the Cougars were helpless to stop the clock, allowing the Pirates to win without inbounding the ball.

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LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Wylie girls take care of Weatherford, AHS boys rally for win

The Wylie girls basketball team followed a third-place finish at the Polk-Key City Classic over the weekend with a solid win over Class 6A Weatherford on Monday, using a big second quarter to build a lead and a strong fourth period to pull away for a 48-37 victory.

Leading 8-7 after eight minutes, the Lady Bulldogs outpaced the Lady Kangaroos 15-9 over the second quarter to take a 23-16 lead into the halftime break. Weatherford (4-3) trimmed the deficit to six heading into the final quarter, but coach Amy Powell’s squad closed the game on a 17-12 run to improve to 7-5 on the year.

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GAME STORY: Cooper blows out Abilene High to snap crosstown losing streak

Heading into Monday night’s crosstown matchup, no Cooper player had ever won a varsity girls basketball game against Abilene High. But all it takes is one victory to reverse a trend like that, and the Lady Cougars picked up a dominating one in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Cougar Gym.

Leading 16-8 after a quarter, CHS added 18 more points to its advantage over the middle two periods before cruising to an impressive 62-37 win over the Lady Eagles. 

The victory, which snapped a four-game losing streak in the crosstown series, was the Lady Coogs’ first over AHS since December 2015. It avenged a pair of losses to the Lady Eagles last season, the first by a near identical score (61-38) at the same site just a little more than a year ago.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Garcia’s gutty effort earns him award

With 257 yards rushing and five touchdowns that averaged 48.4 yards in duration, Noah Garcia’s performance in Cooper’s 35-28 area-round win over Azle likely would have earned him our Big Country Preps Player of the Week award without any special circumstances.

Add in the fact that the junior running back missed a half of the second quarter and all of the third after suffering an asthma attack, and it only bolsters his case.

Behind Garcia, Cooper built a 28-7 halftime lead that might have been larger had he not had to leave the game at the midway point of the second quarter. And then, after the Hornets had cut the Cougars’ lead to seven with a dominating third-quarter performance, the Cougar standout came back to bust a 49-yard scoring run early in the fourth for what proved to be the game-winning score.

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GAME STORY: Jim Ned rallies past Bishop Lynch for PKC title, Wylie finishes third

Trailing Dallas Bishop Lynch 24-17 at the end of three quarters Saturday at Hardin-Simmons University’s Mabee Complex, the Jim Ned Lady Indians needed a spark to keep the Friars from claiming their second Polk-Key City Classic title in as many years.

And as so many Jim Ned teams have done in the past, they found it on the defensive end of the floor.

Stifling Bishop Lynch’s halfcourt sets with their effort and aggression, the Lady Indians turned several steals into a game-tying  7-0 run and they outlasted the Friars from there for a hard-fought 28-26 win.

The victory capped a strong day for local and area teams as Wylie topped Seminole 49-35 in the third-place game, Cooper claimed fifth place with a 45-35 win over Burleson and Abilene High narrowly missed a win in the consolation championship, falling 48-45 to Lubbock Coronado.

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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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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: Hawley faces New Deal with history on the line (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 32-4, .889

OVERALL: 463-87, .842 

Heading into the second round of postseason play, we’re down to a dozen Big Country 11-man and nine six-man football teams still showing a pulse. The good news is, at least 12-14 clubs between both categories should advance to play over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

At least, that’s what my projections say. We shall see. 

Here’s a quick look at this week’s playoff games involving Big Country teams. 

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BCP Podcast No. 71: Evan, Daniel discuss first week of football playoffs

After a rough first week of the high school football playoffs, the Big Country has just 12 teams remaining.

Forgoing a guest this week to dive into the bi-district results and area-round matchups, Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and and Daniel say goodbye to the teams that fell in their playoff opener and discuss the postseason future of those still playing.

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

FEATURE: Basketball takes center stage at ‘Meet the Cougars’ event

With the 10-1 Cooper football team preparing for Friday’s area-round playoff game against Azle, many around the south Abilene campus have yet to flip their sports calendars from the gridiron to the hardwood.  

But that didn’t keep a nice contingent of fans and students from showing up to support the Cooper basketball programs Monday night at CHS’ annual “Meet the Cougars” event at Cougar Gym.

With both the girls and boys seasons now underway, Cooper used the event to drum up some enthusiasm for local basketball, a sport that can be lost in the shuffle at times in a football-crazed town like Abilene and area like the Big Country.

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BCP Boys Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With boys basketball season underway, it’s time to learn the names we’ll be reading about throughout the 2019-20 campaign.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all position groups on the area boys basketball scene, we’ll be taking a look at the area’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

We hope you enjoy reading through our list.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Marshall takes the award again

For the third time in a two-year span, Hawley’s Colton Marshall has captured the Big Country Preps Player of the Week award. And there is little doubt that he earned it. 

Helping Hawley to a 58-15 bi-district win over Chico, Marshall rushed for 271 yards on just 23 carries to help the Bearcats improve to 11-0.

By night’s end, the Big Country’s rushing leader had scored seven touchdowns and added three two-point conversions to lock up the accolade.

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GAME STORY: Cooper defense answers call in 42-21 win over Del Valle

On a night when the Cooper offense was bottled up for the most part by a scrappy El Paso Del Valle squad, the Cougar defense made sure CHS would have a spot in the second round of the Region I-5A Division I playoffs.

Brady Miller, Dylon Davis and Isaiah Boutte all returned interceptions for scores Friday as the Coogs picked off six passes in total to fuel coach Aaron Roan’s squad to a 42-21 victory over the Conquistadors and into the area round, where it will face Azle next week at Tarleton Memorial Stadium in Stephenville.

Despite being outgained 404-236 and running just 36 offensive plays to Del Valle’s 75, Cooper never trailed in improving to 10-1 on the season.

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BCP PLAYOFF FORECAST: Big Country teams kick off postseason (w/ Evan Ren’s Big Country picks)

LAST WEEK: 34-7, .829

OVERALL: 431-83, .839

I say the same thing at this point every season.

We no longer have a Game of the Week. Once the playoffs start, they’re all the Game of the Week. We’ll only be limited by how many games we can get to and Big Country Preps will endeavor to get to as many as possible. 

Nonetheless, some games warrant a close inspection as we head into the bi-district round.  So here’s a quick peek at the five games we view as the most intriguing heading into this week’s action, with the remainder of my postseason picks listed below.

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BCP Podcast No. 70: Evan, Daniel chat with Sweetwater’s Ben McGehee

After coaching Sweetwater to a 10-win season in his first year as the school’s football coach in 2017 and experiencing a tough 1-9 campaign with a young squad last season, Ben McGehee has the Mustangs back on the rise this fall. Leading an SHS team that is still among the youngest in the Big Country, McGehee guided the Mustangs to back-to-back wins in their final two regular season games to move to 4-6 and secure a playoff berth.

Earlier this week, McGehee took some time to chat with Big Country Preps’ Evan Ren and Daniel Youngblood about his team’s run to the postseason, the potential of his young nucleus and what his experience at Sweetwater has been like for this week’s Capital Farm Credit Wednesday Night Podcast.

Also in this episode, Evan and Daniel discuss the Big Country’s bi-district playoff landscape, previewing the top area matchups of the first week of the postseason.

Continue to check back at BigCountryPreps.com each Wednesday night at 7 p.m. when Evan and Dan discuss the current happenings in Big Country High School sports — often with an interesting sports figure from around the area.

You can also peruse our BCP Podcast archive, which features dozens of our previous shows with prominent coaches and Big Country media fixtures. 

Inquiries regarding these podcasts may be directed to Evan Ren at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com. 

If you have a suggested topic of conversation or a recommended guest, don’t hesitate to contact us! 

BCP PODCAST ARCHIVE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS FACEBOOK PAGE 

BIG COUNTRY PREPS TWITTER PAGE 

BCP Girls Basketball Position Rankings: Guards

With girls basketball season upon us, it’s time to take a look at the players who will be making the biggest impact during the 2019-20 season.

For the first installment in a three-part series that will cover all position groups, we’ll be taking a look at the area’s top guards, ranking our top 10 with a list of others to watch this fall.

As with any such list, these rankings are subjective. We hope you enjoy reading through them.

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BIG COUNTRY PREPS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Hamlin’s Williams takes the top spot

Williams

Not since 2001 had the Hamlin Pied Pipers topped Albany in a game of football — a time span that included 12 straight defeats. 

So it goes without saying that when coach Russell Lucas’ crew finally broke through with a 66-20 win over the one area team they wanted to defeat more than any other, emotions were running a bit high at Piper Stadium on Friday. 

And no player wearing green contributed more than senior Jevon Williams, who helped turn our Big Country Preps Game of the Week into something lopsided. 

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District 2-5A Division I: Week 11 Report

Amarillo High 49, Cooper 35 — The No. 8 Cougars outgained the Sandies 520-346 on Friday, but a rough second quarter put them in a 21-point hole they could never quite dig out of in suffering their first loss of the season.

Amarillo High, which went 10 of 15 on third downs and had five conversions of third-and-8 or longer,  led 28-14 at halftime and pushed its lead to 35-14 in the third quarter, before Cooper quarterback Aidan Thompson led a pair of rallies to pull the Coogs within seven. Blake Bedwell put the game away for the Sandies, though, scoring his third touchdown with 1:57 remaining.

Thompson finished 19 of 34 for 221 yards and three touchdowns to lead Cooper, which also got 226 yards and two TDs rushing from Noah Garcia. AHS, which clinched the District 2-5A DI title with the win, was paced by Bedwell (17-88, 3 TDs rushing) and quarterback Will Maynard (11-23-0—136, 2 TDs passing; 11-64 rushing). 

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GAME STORY: No. 8 Cooper can’t complete rally, suffers first loss to Amarillo High

AMARILLO — A 21-point hole proved too large to climb out of Friday as the No. 8 Cooper Cougars suffered their first loss of the season, a 49-35 setback to Amarillo High in a winner-take-all matchup for the District 2-5A Division I title at Dick Bivins Stadium.

Missed opportunities early in each half allowed the Sandies to take a pair of three-score leads, and the inability to stop AHS on third downs throughout the contest kept the Coogs from ever getting closer to the lead than seven points in the second half.

The loss dropped coach Aaron Roan’s squad to 9-1 on the year and 5-1 in league play, pushing Cooper into 2-5A DI’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

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FEATURE: No. 8 Cougars ready for district title clash with Amarillo High

The last time Cooper completed the regular season undefeated, the Cougars’ current seniors were in diapers. The last time it won a district championship, that same group was playing freshman ball.

The No. 8 Coogs can accomplish both feats on Friday, but it will take a road win against an Amarillo High squad that has won six consecutive games and downed coach Aaron Roan’s squad 58-27 last year in Abilene.

The outcome of Friday’s game, which will decide the outright championship in District 2-5A Division I, won’t have any impact on Cooper’s postseason goals. But it will determine whether the Coogs enter the playoffs on a 10-game winning streak or a one-game losing skid.

And for a team that has a 16-0 record and state title atop its list of 2019 aspirations, you had better believe that matters.

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