Cooper Wins in Thrilling Fashion Over Conner on Rainy Saturday Night
Conner played host to a neighboring rival in Cooper on Saturday night. Considering it was a locally televised game, there seemed to be quite a bit of hype surrounding this game. It’s safe to say it lived up to the hype, with Cooper winning a late game thriller by the score of 15-13.
It was all defense in the first half, and really for the entirety of the game. Because of the heavy rainfall, neither team was able to connect on many passes. On top of that, both defenses did an excellent job stopping the run. The first score of the game didn’t come until the closing seconds of the first half with Cooper quarterback Nathan Brown punching it in from 1yard out. Cooper was unable to execute the extrapoint, making the score 60 with 41 seconds left in the half. That would be the score as both teams headed to the locker room.
The second half started just as the first half did, with the defense dominating for both teams.
Conner was finally able to complete a pass downfield, but Cooper defensive back Chad Michels made a great play by ripping the ball out of the receivers hands after the catch. The turnover gave Cooper the ball at Conner's 25yard line with a chance to further their lead. The Jaguars did just that when running back Jaden Jackson ran it in from 11yards out with 1:51 remaining in the third quarter. After a failed two-point conversion, the score was 12-0 in favor of Cooper.
With Conner unable to move the ball all night, things were looking grim being two scores down with one quarter to go. However, with their backs against the wall, the Cougars found a way to score on the ensuing drive. The score came on a 9-yard touchdown pass with quarterback Kyler Padgett connecting with running back Joseph Warwick. With that score, Conner cut the lead to 12-7 with 10:44 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Conner was able to force a punt on the following drive, giving them the ball with a chance to take the lead. The Cougars were finally able to complete a few passes, and moved the ball all the way down to the 3-yard line. Running back Tyler Arnold was able to run it in from there. Conner went for two hoping to make it a 3 point game. They were unable to execute, making the score 13-12 with 5:54 left in the game.
After relinquishing the lead, it was Cooper who had their backs against the wall. They responded by driving the ball down the field with a chance to take the lead with a field goal. From 24 yards out in strong winds and heavy rain, kicker Mitchell Hollifield confidently put it through with 1:17 remaining in the game. Hollifield refused to let the pressure get to him during the kick. “I wasn’t feeling anything. I was pretty numb, and i felt confident that i was going to make it,” said Hollifield.
Although Cooper was winning with only 1 minute remaining, Conner still had a chance to pull off the win. The Cougars were able to move the ball into Cooper territory, but the Jaguars were able to ice the game thanks to an interception from Chad Michels with 3 seconds left.
After a tough loss against a rival, Conner (6-3) hopes to get back on the right side of the scoreboard facing off against a 1-8 Mason County team next Friday. Cooper on the other hand, is in celebration mode after Saturday's victory, winning their first 6A District Championship as a result. Cooper (8-2) hopes to enjoy continued success as they enter the playoffs with plenty of momentum.
Written by Patrick Henke, RCN contributor