SEMINOLE — If Seminole isn’t playing its best football right now, the Indians are pretty darn close.
Jacob Burtch and Jarod Adams connected for three first-half touchdowns and the Seminole defense limited not only Cooper’s big-play ability but also their shot and doing anything consistently offensively en route to a second-straight victory over the Pirates, 35-13, in a Class 3A Division I area playoff Friday night at Wig Wam Stadium.
“Right now we’re hitting on all cylinders for the most part,” said Burtch who finished the game 14 for 18 for 244 yards and four touchdowns but also two interceptions. “We have little mistakes here and there but I think we’re in pretty good shape. It feels pretty good.”
Seminole (11-1), which beat Cooper 20-7 in Week 2 of the regular season, advances to the regional to face Alvarado (12-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Angelo Stadium in San Angelo. Not only will the Indians take their prolific offense with them, but what has proven to be a pretty stingy defense as well.
Allowing 281 yards per game coming into the night, the Indians (11-1) picked off three Pirate passes, including a 48-yard return for a touchdown by Caleb Koedyker, forced five total turnovers and held the Pirates (8-4) to 261 yards total offense, including 97 rushing yards, well below their season average.
“I’ve said it before that our defense is often underrated or they’ve kept quite because our offense is so prolific,” Seminole coach Chris Burtch said. “Our defense has won us some ball games because they held people out and gave us a second opportunity to go score or get a pick six like Caleb did tonight.”
The Indians turned it over three times themselves, but only one of those turned into a Cooper touchdown, and even that came after the game was well in hand late in the fourth quarter.
Cooper had just one sustained drive the entire night, that coming late in the second quarter but only after the Indians had built a 28-0 lead. Otherwise, it was a night of futility for the Pirates, who were unable to create some of the big plays that allowed them to win six straight coming into the game.
“We had some turnovers early that gave them a chance, and they’re a great football team and very powerful and big up front,” Cooper coach John Windham said. “They’re so much bigger than we were that we weren’t able to get anything with our running game and when we’re not able to do that we’re in trouble.”
The Indians came out of the gates firing, and the only ones stopping them were themselves. Seminole scored on three of its six first-half possessions, turning it over once on a Cisco Rivera interception, missing a field goal and being stopped 12 yards short of the end zone by the end of the first half.
Seminole racked up twice as many offensive yards in the first half (286) than Cooper (140), led by Burtch’s 206 yards and three touchdowns, all to Adams. Of Coopers’ 140 yards, 80 came on their final drive of the first half as, to that point, their other drives had ended in three punts, a fumble, an interception and on downs.
But the Indians made up for one of those offensive stops by getting a 48-yard Caleb Koedyker interception return for a touchdown and also turning the Burtch interception into a fumble on the ensuing Cooper play, then turning that into their second touchdown of the game, the first of three first-half touchdown passes from Burtch to Adams, who had touchdown grabs of 40, 52 and 32 yards.
“He makes your stomach turn over is what he does,” a joking Chris Burtch said. “You never know what’s coming. That kid is amazing and God has gifted him in so many ways. Anytime it’s in his hands it could be six points.”
He’ll be one of the keys for Alvarado to look at on film next week, but if Seminole continues to play they way it has the past two months, it might not matter.
“Alvarado’s going to be a great test and they’re a great team,” Jacob Burtch said.
CLASS 3A DIVISION I AREA PLAYOFF
At Wig Wam Stadium, Seminole
SEMINOLE 35, COOPER 13
Cooper 0 7 0 6 — 13
Seminole 14 14 7 0 — 35
SEM—Jarod Adams 40 pass from Jacob Burtch (Matt Flowers kick); 9:03
SEM—Adams 54 pass from Burtch (Flowers kick); 5:12
SEM—Caleb Koedyker 48 interception return (Flowers kick); 10:26
SEM—Adams 32 pass from Burtch (Flowers kick); 4:13
COO—Ryan Moseley 16 pass from Nolan Savage (Luke Kemp kick); 1:58
SEM—Tanner Moore 13 pass from Burtch (Flowers kick); 4:32
COO—Savage 2 run (kick failed); 4:23
First downs 17 20
Rushes-yards 33-97 35-181
Passing yards 164 244
Comp.-att.-int. 17-30-3 14-18-2
Punts-avg. 3-33.0 2-24.0
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 6-40 6-46
RUSHING: Cooper, Nolan Savage 18-61, John Keane 9-21, Christen Shorten 2-19, Brett Salas 1-(-1), Will Simonton 3-(-4); Seminole, Juan Espino 20-107, Jacob Burtch 10-56, David Moncayo 3-14, Dexter Longley 1-2, Raylee Suarez 1-2.
PASSING: Cooper, Keane 16-28-2—148, Keane 1-2-1—16; Seminole, Burtch 14-18-2—244.
RECEIVING: Cooper, Stanton Keane 5-61, Sean Bentley 3-40, Savage 2-28, Ryan Moseley 3-15, Tyler Parr 2-12, Salas 1-11, McLane Sanderson 1-7 ; Seminole, Jarod Adams 5-151, Tanner Moore 2-33, Caleb Koedyker 4-32, Espino 1-8.