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.

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