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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unbreakable Football

Welcome back to 3-5A Cooper Cougars! The phrase "under-dogs" have been used against this team before the season even began. Many shuffled the thought of 'them' being anything more than just another useless team. Old fans remained hidden in the shadows and would not speak of such a team being anything like that other team over there. 
   The first Friday night football game, many sat in the stands unsure of what type of team they would be cheering on this year. Then there were those avid fans who had shown up in their red and blue glory. The first team to play, Wichita Falls Rider. A tough 4A team. The first quarter was a draw back as we watched the first quarter end with WF Rider leading the game. By the end of the second quarter, Cooper was able to score only one touchdown. This still left some worry to many of the seated fans. It wasn't until the fourth quarter where we see some real action from the Cougars. The shared touchdowns between Alford Cooper and Davon Riddick gave the Cougars the lead and win over WF Rider 40 to 21. Way to go Cougars!
    The second week, Cooper Cougars were set to face Austin Westlake. A little bit more of a fan base, just still some speculating whether the Cougars can pull off this win. As many pack in at Shotwell Stadium, more red and blue can be seen. Is there a shift coming on here? In the first quarter, we watched Davon Riddick and Khole Jackson share in touchdown scores. Making the first quarter 14 to 0 Cooper. The fans became nervous during the second quarter as we watched Austin Westlake score two touchdowns and tying up the score 14 to 14. As halftime ended, we cheered on the Cougars as they re-entered the field. "We can do this Cougars! Keep the faith!" is all I kept yelling out. Then the red and blue fell silent as we watched Westlake score and celebrate. The hype returns with a touchdown score from Davon Riddick. At the end of the third quarter, the score was tied at 21. The fourth quarter was the battle zone. Either you do or you do not! Watching Westlake put up 10 points on the board was nerve-wrecking for Cougar fans, but to see the Cougars turn their fourth quarter score adding 14 points gave more fans the sense of belief! The game ended with Cooper 35 Westlake 31.We can do this! Let's go Cougars! 
    Off to San Angelo we went! My loaded down car following! All painted up in awesome red and blue! Can we make this 3-0? Can the Cougars stay on top of the game? This is the road trip where my son introduced me to a song he said fits the Cooper Cougars to a tee, "I'm Not Afraid" by Eminem. As I drove down Hwy 277, I listened to this song and I thought of all of the people out there who have little, if any, hope for the Cougars. I thought about friends of mine, who went to AHS by the way, and how they began the season with saying things like "we will slam that door on you again and again" or "we will see in October when we beat you again! We are kings of A-town, not the Cougars!" Anyway, back to the music. The song starts out “I’m not afraid to take a stand. Everybody come take my hand. We’ll walk this world together, through the storm, whatever weather cold or warm….” Further in the music you hear more phrases that begin to click and make perfect sense when comparing with the Cougars. This song has become the song we listen to on the way to any Cougar football game (Varsity and JV). We arrived to this awesome stadium and all I could say was “WOW!” This game is an example to show how different Mike Spradlin’s coaching efforts are different from 'other' coaches. By halftime, the Cooper Cougars were leading 42 to 14. The Cougars had only ran 25 plays in the first half of the game! The difference I spoke of with Spradlin was during the second half of this game. Why the difference? Because Spradlin welcomed his second string to play a good portion of the second half. He is more concerned with giving all of the team a chance to play, than he is blowing out the opponents they play. Cougars go on to win 55 to 21! Go Cougars! We are on our way!
     The fourth week, the Cougars faced Lubbock High in Lubbock. I was not able to attend this game, you can bet I sat at Shotwell Stadium in all my Cooper glory watching the Abilene High v Plant (Florida) game. (My nephew attends Plant) I was loud and proud to cheer on Plant - on the AHS side. I did not know we were able to sit on the Plant side during the game, until I spoke with a Plant parent (who by the way I had to apologize to for the rudeness they received from AHS students). Due to lightning around Lowrey Field, the game was called at halftime. The Cougars started out slow, but I was told they played the remainder of the first have very strong. I should say so with the score being 43 to 0 at the half! Keep ‘em coming Cougars!
     The Cooper cougars also went on to beat Lubbock Coronado in the fifth week of the 2010 football season. Look at the stadium now! Look at all the red and blue! Such sweet memories to see the fans back in action again. Cheering on our team, THE Cooper Cougars. The finally non-district game was a blow-out for the first three quarters. It was not until the fourth quarter where Coronado was able to put 21 points on the board. Again, this is due to Coach Spradlin allowing other players a shot at showing what they can do. Another great win for the Cooper Cougars! 56 to 21! We are WELL on our way! 5-0 Undefeated!
     And so it begins…

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cooper Band Wagon - Midland News

Posted: Thursday, November 4, 2010 8:00 pm
I owe Abilene Cooper coach Mike Spradlin and his team an apology.
For weeks, I hyped the Cougars as the best team in District 3-5A. I went so far as to predict that Cooper would make a run through the district unscathed, including an upset win over crosstown rival Abilene High, on its way to a 3-5A title.
The Cougars beat Abilene High, 45-28, last week and are now one game away from making it through the district with a perfect record. They're one win shy of making me look like a genius.
That was until I picked them against the Cougars in last week's picks that were printed in the paper. After seeing the way Cooper struggled to knock off Lee and then Abilene High's dismantling of the Rebels, I turned on the Cougars.
I stepped off the bandwagon and stopped dousing people with Cooper Kool-Aid. I joined the crowd and went back to the common belief that held Abilene High above the rest of the district. Oops.
Now it's too late. Getting back on the Cooper bandwagon after its surprise win over AHS would make me look like a schmuck. I should have stuck with what I believed all along.
The Cougars offense is without a doubt the best in this district, and if there's a team in the state capable of holding the Cougars under 30 points, then I want to see it. The emergence of junior quarterback Clayton Nicholas has spearheaded what seems to be an unstoppable attack for the Cougars.
When teams want to crowd the line of scrimmage and focus on stopping the running back tandem of seniors Davon Riddick and Alford Cooper, Nicholas has absolutely torched opposing secondaries. Look at last week's win over AHS. Nicholas completed an unfathomable 27 of 30 passes for 349 yards and two TDs against a very good Abilene High defense.
That opened up the ground game and Alford Cooper ended up with 129 yards and three scores, while Riddick rushed for 82 yards. In the end, the Cougars torched Abilene High for 586 total yards of offense.
By now, everyone knows what Cooper can do offensively. Many in Midland saw the Cougars hang 56 on Lee earlier this season. They also say the Rebels put 52 up against Cooper.
It was the defense that worried me about Cooper. I didn't believe it was good enough to corrall Abilene High and I leaned toward the Eagles in the picks. After all, as our regular readers will tell you, I'm in last place among the sports writers participating in the pick-it line. I needed to pick up some wins.
In response, Cooper's defense shut out Abilene High in the second half.
Because I waffled, I don't get to utter the favorite phrase of every member of the sports media, "I told you so."
So did I learn my lesson? If you saw Thursday's paper or maybe found our weekly District 3-5A report video on our website, then you know I didn't.
I picked Midland High to beat the Cougars tonight and grab a share of the district title. Here's hope the Bulldogs garner me some redemption.

Congratulations to the Cooper Cougars

I just want to take this first blog I write and send out a huge congratulations to the Abilene Cooper Cougars! From the coaching staff to the players themselves, you have all done an awesome job! Re-entering the 5A district as presumed 'under dogs', the entire team should be very proud of their accomplishments this 2010 season. As a repetitive phrase, the Cooper Cougars have said it, lived it, and shown it...."There is no "i" in Team!" And you definitely do not need the lime-light to prove how great you are. Many Junior Varsity players are looking up to each and every one of you Varsity players. For that, you have become teachers and have given guidance into the next generation of Varsity players. My son being one of those JV players (B team). I cannot count how many times he has come home and discussing his experience with Varsity.

I want to thank each and every Varsity Cougar player and coaching staff. Many of the younger generation players do not have that one on one opportunity, so what the Varsity and coaching staff give them is worth more than the weight on gold. I thank you for your time, attention, patience, devotion, loyalty, and responsibility you have shared.

Sincerely - A very grateful mom!