With school enrollment growing, Cooper expects to eventually move up to the Class 4A ranks. Maybe not in the next realignment in 2014, but soon.
So Friday was a perfect chance for the Pirates to see how they fare against 4A competition, and head coach John Windham picked the best 4A team in the area in Frenship as the two met in a controlled scrimmage at Pirate Stadium.
After the 3-3 tie — each offense scored three touchdowns that weren’t nullified by a potential penalty — Windham was more than pleased with what he saw.
“Frenship is the top of the class out here in West Texas and we knew scrimmaging Frenship was going to be tough,” Windham said. “But our goal was to try and get better at what we were doing and see a faster speed than we’ve been seeing in practice, and we sure did. Our kids have never played Frenship in a game or scrimmage so you’re worried about the intimidation factor, but we didn’t seem intimidated, and I was very proud of that. We can get better from this.”
The scrimmage was scripted to where each team’s first-teamers went against one another for 15 plays, then the second-teamers scrimmaged for 12 plays. The first teams came back for 12 plays, then the second teams finished it with 10. There were no live quarters.
In terms of scores that don’t count, Cooper had two of those to Frenship’s one as the Pirates picked off two Tigers passes that would have gone the other way for touchdowns, including one by returning safety Ryan Moseley against the Tigers’ first team.
Windham said it was good to see his defense get those two picks even though he said three to four starters were held out due to nagging injuries.
But it wasn’t all Cooper.
When the first teams went against each other, the Tigers held a 3-2 lead in scores, and it became obvious very early that senior tailback D’Maujeric Tucker is ready to be the feature back.
Tucker, who rushed for 900 yards and seven touchdowns last year as a reserve, scored twice in Frenship’s first 15-play set. His first score came when he took an option pitch on a fake dive and went around right end for a 29-yard touchdown. His second score was more impressive, taking a pitch to the left, stopping, cutting back to the right and delivering a big hit at the 2-yard line at the end of a 20-yard run.
Tucker, who also scored on a 10-yard run, had another touchdown called back later in the scrimmage thanks to a penalty, which seemed to plague the Tigers at times. Frenship also had trouble with the center-quarterback exchange, which forced several plays to be blown dead.
“I thought the physical part was really good — the effort was good,” Frenship coach Brad Davis said. “We made a lot of mental mistakes ... a lot of penalties on moving on the snap, the center couldn’t hear the snap. The effort was there, we’ve just got to get the mental things fixed. The first scrimmage, you’re going to have that and we’ll get better for next week and by the first game we’ll hopefully have it all eliminated. That’s our goal.”
Frenship has one more scrimmage against Odessa at 7 p.m. Friday at Peoples Bank Stadium.
One of the deepest playoff runs in Shallowater football history came last season, but it ended in the regional finals at the hands of the Monahans Lobos.
By a twist of fate, the first scrimmage opponent for the Mustangs in 2012 was Monahans, which came Friday night at Todd Field.
Monahans got the best of Shallowater in November, but Shallowater came out the stronger team in August, scoring three touchdowns to just two for the Lobos.
“We held our own against them,” Shallowater coach Kyle Maxfield said. “I was pleased with our effort.”
Shallowater has some huge holes to fill going into the season, particularly at quarterback where Conner Fields takes over the Spread scheme. Maxfield said Field did a good job for the most part of making the right decisions.
“He’s still got a big learning curve in front of him, but he is working hard at it,” Maxfield said.
Shallowater opens the regular season Aug. 31 at home against Muleshoe.
A year ago, Lubbock High players were not only learning a new offensive scheme, but learning the basics of football itself.
The improvement made since last fall showed in an odd way for the Westerners in their scrimmage against Big Spring on Friday. Head coach Jason Strunk said the quarterbacks have such a good grasp of the offense that they were running through their check-downs too quickly and missing open receivers.
“That’s a good problem to have,” Strunk said. “(The quarterback) knows the checks one, two, three, and he wasn’t giving one and two enough time. He had a great pocket, I just think he was going through his reads too quickly and shooting himself in his own foot.”
Strunk said his offense moved the ball up and down the field consistently against the Steers, but failed to get it into the end zone during any of the 10-play sets, while Big Spring scored one touchdown. Strunk said, however, that after going back over film the Westerners racked up about 170 yards of offense with the potential for much more.
LHS also played without seven starters on both sides of the ball, including a couple of concussions.
While the offense struggled to get into the end zone, the defense stood out, Strunk said.
“They played light out,” Strunk said. “What a difference a year makes. I think we need to keep working on tackling because we missed some tackles, and then shore up some coverages. But there was nothing glaring.”
Lubbock High opens the regular season Aug. 31 at Canyon.