Tag: Cooper Cougars

Evan Ren’s Big Country playoff forecast

LAST WEEK: 3-2, .600
SEASON TOTAL: 432-93, .823

With two small-school area teams — Jim Ned and May — now joined in the postseason party by locals Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie (in the 6A-5A bi-district rounds), the Big Country still has five football teams still afloat heading into this week.

It should be noted that May, having already qualified for the 1A DI (six-man) state title game, won’t play again until next week’s championship matchup with Sterling City.
The rest will see action Friday and Saturday in venues scattered all over Texas, from the Metroplex to Fort Stockton.

Let’s dive in and have a look at all the matchups.

I’ll see you on the road. 

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Cooper seniors miss out on home game experience, chance at turnaround

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Sitting at 2-9 on March 10 after a 6-1 loss to Wichita Falls High in its district opener, the Cooper baseball team was off to a slower start than it was hoping for when play was halted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

But with the start of the Abilene ISD Tournament — and the Cougars’ first opportunity to play on their newly renovated home field — slated for March 12, there was a shared sense of optimism among coach Cody Salyers and his players.

The Coogs, who have typically finished stronger than they’ve started under Salyers, had all of their biggest games and goals ahead of them. And the chance to become the first CHS team to play its home games under lights and on a turf field had them riding a wave of excitement into the meat of their schedule.

Unfortunately for Salyers’ squad, that chance never came. And thanks to the global pandemic that forced the University Interscholastic League to suspend and later cancel all spring sporting events, it never will for the team’s five seniors.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Marc Case — A Basketball Love Story … Former McMurry player, Cooper coach has Clyde in playoffs

Marc Case is at it again, taking over a high school basketball team in urgent need of a coach and turning it into a winner.

This time it’s at Clyde — the second season of his second stint as the Bulldogs’ head coach. The passionate, fiery, old-school fundamentals coach who began his career in the 1970s has guided the Bulldogs back into the playoffs with a 19-14 record. Clyde will face Early (also 19-14) in a Class 3A boys’ bidistrict game at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Brownwood Coliseum.

“I always loved playing in the Coliseum,” the seemingly ageless 68-year-old Case said the other day. “I know it’s only five miles for Early to travel and 70 miles for us, but it’s a great place to play with a great atmosphere.”

Some might suggest Tuesday’s game will bring Case’s basketball career full circle, considering he played multiple times in Brownwood Coliseum from 1969-1973 as a McMurry guard going against the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets when both colleges were Lone Star Conference members.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

GAME STORY: Wylie softball outlasts Cooper to claim District 4-5A title

The Wylie softball team exploded for nine runs over the final three innings Friday to rally past Cooper 12-6 and claim the District 4-5A championship over their new crosstown rival at Cougar Diamond.

The Lady Bulldogs trailed 4-2 after three innings and were locked in a 5-all tie through five frames, but a three-run sixth and four-run seventh turned what had been a thrilling back-and-forth affair to that point into a comfortable victory in the winner-take-all district finale.

The victory capped a seven-game district winning streak for Wylie, which wrapped up its regular season 13-14 overall and 7-1 in 4-5A play. Cooper, meanwhile, enters the playoffs at 13-16-2 after posting a 6-2 district record.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Hill embracing role as Cooper Cougars’ ace

Cooper junior Braiden Hill has a lot of physical tools that make him a successful starting pitcher. He’s big, he throws hard and he’s got a good second pitch he can turn to when that fastball’s not going quite where he wants it to.

But it’s Hill’s mentality that has taken him from a solid rotation piece for coach Cody Salyers last season to the unquestioned ace of the Cougar pitching staff this year.

The strong-armed right-hander believes he’s better than every batter he faces, and it’s his goal each at-bat to prove that.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

FEATURE: Hard work, growth mark rise for versatile Cooper forward Bailey

Watching Deven Bailey play, one might conclude he’s a natural forward.

The 6-foot-5 Cooper senior plays with a fluidity and skill-level in the high and low post that would take many players a lifetime of work to achieve.

But the apparent ease with which Bailey can take over a game belies a unique and arduous developmental track. In fact, just two years ago, he was a 5-10 guard playing a far different game than the one he dominates with today.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Montes shoots AHS girls past Odessa High in OT thriller

Georgia Montes hit eight 3-pointers Tuesday, and the Abilene High Lady Eagles needed every one of them to escape Eagle Gym with a 57-56 overtime win over Odessa High.

Montes finished with a game-high 24 points to pace AHS, which outscored the Lady Bronchos 8-7 over the extra period to improve to 8-8 on the season.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

LOCAL HOOPS ROUNDUP: Coogs top Estacado; AHS, Cooper girls fall to area foes

LUBBOCK — The Cooper boys basketball team continued its strong start to the season Tuesday, rallying from seven points down at halftime to knock off Lubbock Estacado 70-65.

The Cougars took the lead with a 27-17 third-quarter run and held off the Matadors in the fourth to improve to 4-1 on the year.

Deven Bailey once again led the Coogs, scoring a team-high 21 points for the second straight game, while Ben Thompson added 13, Josh Henry and Noah Garcia both scored nine, and Kaden Davis pitched in eight.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Birdville ends Cooper’s season with 49-14 win

MINERAL WELLS — The combination of Laderrious Mixon and Stone Earle proved too much for Cooper on Friday, as the North Richland Hills Birdville running back-quarterback duo combined for more than 450 total yards in a 49-14 victory in a Region I-5A Division I area-round game at Ram Stadium.

Mixon ran for 200 yards and a touchdown while also catching a 30-yard TD pass on a trick play, and Earle passed for 233 yards and four scores while adding a fifth score on the ground.

Those two propelled the Hawks (11-1) to a 28-0 halftime lead and helped grab the momentum back after it appeared as though Cooper might work its way back into the game in the third quarter.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Garcia’s big night, takeaways fuel Cooper past Eastwood

Sophomore running back Noah Garcia made a triumphant return to the Cooper lineup Friday, rushing for three touchdowns to propel the Cougars to a 49-41 win over El Paso Eastwood in a Region I-5A Division I bi-district matchup at Trooper Stadium.

Garcia, who was taken off the field on a stretcher during his team’s regular season-ending loss to Amarillo High, scored on runs of 48, 3 and 8 yards, while Daelin Campos added TD scampers of 53 and 35 yards to help the Coogs overcome a six-touchdown game by Eastwood quarterback Christian Castaneda.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Cooper’s ball-hawking secondary a strength entering playoffs

With the players he had back from last year’s team, Cooper coach Aaron Roan knew coming into this season that he had a good secondary.

So when his team allowed 351 passing yards in a season-opening loss to Keller — and saw standout safety and captain LaDainian Diaz lost for the year to a torn ACL in the process — he didn’t panic. He simply made a couple of personnel adjustments and continued the course as planned.

That confidence has proven well-placed as the Cougars finished the regular season allowing just 180.5 passing yards per game with 12 interceptions. And entering Friday’s bi-district playoff against an explosive El Paso Eastwood team, Roan remains confident in his ball-hawking secondary to make the plays it must to help the team win.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Cooper looks to get back on track in playoff opener

COOPER (5-5) AT EL PASO EASTWOOD (7-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Trooper Stadium, El Paso

What it means: This is the playoff opener for both teams, so only one of these squads will still be playing next week.  Eastwood, the District 1-5A Division I champion, comes into this matchup on a six-game winning streak, while Cooper must regroup from a 58-27 home loss to Amarillo High that dropped the Cougars from second to fourth in the District 3 standings. The Coogs have won nine of their last 10 bi-district playoff games and are 14-0 all-time against El Paso schools. That record includes an 81-26 win over Eastwood in the 1994 area round in the only previous meeting between these schools.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

District 2-5A Division I: Week 11 Report

Amarillo High 58, Cooper 27 — The Cougars (5-5, 4-2) raced out to a 20-0 lead just over two minutes into the game, but the Sandies roared back, outscoring Cooper 58-7 the rest of the way to spoil Senior Night at Shotwell Stadium.

The loss dropped Cooper from second in the district to fourth, forcing coach Aaron Roan’s squad to travel to El Paso for its bi-district playoff matchup against El Paso Eastwood, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.

The Coogs turned the ball over six times in their regular season finale, allowing Amarillo High to pull ahead by the end of the first quarter and pull away in the second half, during which the Sandies (6-4, 4-2) outscored Cooper 27-0.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Fast start not enough as Cooper drops Senior Day game to Sandies

Up 20-0 just over two minutes into Friday’s regular-season finale against Amarillo High, it appeared the Cooper Cougars were headed for a blowout win over the Sandies and the No. 2 playoff seed out of District 2-5A Division I.

But AHS rallied to take a 21-20 lead by the end of the first quarter and outscored Cooper 37-7 the rest of the way to hand the Coogs a 58-27 loss on Senior Night and bump coach Aaron Roan’s team to fourth in the district pecking order.

Six turnovers, including four second-half interceptions, proved deadly for Cooper, which could never regain the momentum after Amarillo’s first counter punch.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Local boys basketball teams young but talented in 2018-19

Graduation did a number on Abilene’s three boys basketball teams, which return just four starters and 15 lettermen among them for the 2018-19 season. But if you think that’s changed the expectations on the Abilene High, Cooper and Wylie campuses, you would be wrong.

With AHS grad Justin Reese taking over the Eagle program from Don Heseman, who left after five seasons to become assistant principal at AISD’s Woodson Center for Excellence, a playoff return is the goal on Abilene’s north side. And with their program’s established on the other side of the tracks, Cooper’s Bryan Conover and Wylie’s Gregg Ruffin are shooting for the Class 5A postseason.

While all three coaches are expecting some growing pains early as their young teams jell, each feels good about his roster and the ability of the players on it to compete.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Cooper looks to finish district play strong against Sandies

AMARILLO HIGH (6-3, 3-2) AT COOPER (5-4, 4-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday at Shotwell Stadium, Abilene

What it means: This is a big game for playoff seeding in District 2-5A Division I as Cooper can still finish anywhere from first to fourth in the league’s postseason pecking order. And given that a No. 3 or 4 seed comes with a road trip to El Paso for the first round, you can bet the the Cougars will be motivated to take care of business in this one. The simplest scenario for the Coogs would be to win Friday and have league leader Lubbock Coronado defeat Amarillo Caprock, which would leave Cooper alone in second. But a couple of upsets could throw this district race into chaos.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Cooper QB Thompson making strides, mark as sophomore

Like most players who are forced into action as sophomores, Cooper quarterback Aidan Thompson has had his ups and downs this season. 

But as is often the case with talented young players, the ratio of ups to downs has risen with his experience level.

Thompson, who won the right to replace 3,500-yard passer Ender Freeman behind center with his work during the spring and fall, has led Cooper to a 5-4 record this year, including a 4-1 start to District 2-5A Division I play. And as with his team, which has won five of its last six games, the 6-foot-4, 170-pound sophomore has done his best work of late, packing the two best performances of his career into the Cougars’ last three contests.

You need to login to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us