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Strong defense in second half pushes Pirates past Westerners 29-21

Posted: September 14, 2012 - 11:14pm  |  Updated: September 15, 2012 - 12:33am
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Lubbock Cooper's Payden Piaskowski is surrounded by Lubbock High defenders during their game at Lowrey Field on Friday.
Lubbock Cooper's Payden Piaskowski is surrounded by Lubbock High defenders during their game at Lowrey Field on Friday.
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Cooper is getting pretty good at shutting down teams in the second half.

For the second straight week, the Pirates held their opponent scoreless after halftime, and that allowed the Cooper offense to rally for a 29-21 victory over Lubbock High Friday night at Lowrey Field.

“We’ve just got to find a way to stop them a little bit earlier,” a relieved Cooper coach John Windham said. “That’s usually the way it works. The defense takes a while to find what they’re doing to us, then we go inside, make some adjustments and the defense always rises to the occasion.”

No occasion was bigger for the Pirates (3-0) than late in the game. A 44-yard pass from Layven Armendariz to Cory Schovanec put the Westerners first-and-goal at the Cooper 4.

But LHS running back Brandon Hernandez was dropped for a yard on first down, then sacks by Cole Goolsby and Montana Vega on fourth down wrapped around an Armendariz incompletion turned the Westerners away for the second time in the game inside the 10 yard line.

“Twice inside the five,” LHS coach Jason Strunk said. “We work on it all week, we feel good about what we’re doing and it doesn’t work again. So it’s back to the drawing board on Monday and we’ll find a way to get it right. That was the difference in the game, right there.”

That, and Cooper quarterback Travis Windham.

Windham accounted for 328 yards of offense, including 236 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Ryan Moseley had seven catches for 92 yards and caught touchdowns of 9, 13 and 17 yards, and McLane Sanderson had a 12-yard touchdown for the Pirates.

Windham’s fourth touchdown of the night, the 13-yarder to Moseley early in the third quarter, put the Pirates up 27-21, and Cooper sealed it late by tackling Hernandez in the end zone for a safety with just over 2 minutes remaining.

Cooper’s defense set the tone for the second half, holding Hernandez to 19 yards after the intermission, but it was Cooper’s ability to run the ball just enough that helped slow the pace down. As well as Travis Windham threw the ball in the first two quarters, John Windham was leery of getting into a shootout with the Westerners in the second half, and the strategy worked.

Windham rushed for 55 of his 92 yards in the second half, Stanton Keane added 30 yards after halftime and the Pirates were able to chew enough time off the clock despite scoring only one touchdown, then turned it over to their defense.

“We are not good in shootouts,” John Windham said. “We didn’t want to get into a shootout and that’s what it looked like the fist half. We went in at halftime and said we’ve got to establish a running game and we were able to do that with some two-back gun and go at them.”

Lubbock High stuck mostly to the ground. Hernandez had 15 carries for 55 yards while Armendariz rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown. Through the air, however, he was just 3 of 6 for 59 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Zuniga.

The Pirates struck first as Windham hit on his first four passes, the final one of the first drive a 12-yard strike to Sanderson to put Cooper up 7-0.

But after punting on its first drive, Lubbock High got cranked up from there. The Westerners answered with the tying touchdown when a scrambling Armendariz found Zuniga all alone behind the Pirate defense for a 51-yard touchdown, knotting the score at 7 with 5:19 left in the first half.

Then, the first big mistake of the game hit as Payden Piaskowski fumbled after a short catch, and Erin Lopez picked it up at the Westerner 35 and went untouched into the end zone to put LHS up 14-7 with 2:51 remaining in the opening period.

Cooper, however, came right back. A 30-yard completion to Tyler Parr and a 17-yarder to Piaskowski set up first and goal, and Windham found Moseley in the back of the end zone on the next play for a 9-yard touchdown catch. The PAT kick, however, failed, which would prove crucial, and Cooper still trailed 14-13.

Lubbock High then gave Cooper a heavy does of Hernandez, who carried six times on the ensuing eight play drive. It was a fake pitch to Hernandez that set up an 8-yard touchdown run by Armendariz on the keeper to put the Westerners up 21-13 with 9:10 to go until halftime.

The Pirates came back to pull to within 21-19 on Moseley’s second touchdown catch of the half, a 13-yarder on fourth-and-goal. The two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Pirates still trailing by two.

Cooper’s defense came up with a huge stop on the next LHS drive, forcing a turnover on downs at the Pirate 9. Two personal foul penalties on the Westerners on the ensuing Cooper drive put the Pirates into LHS territory, and it appeared they were going in for the go-ahead score until Amadeo Conyers intercepted Windham on the slant at the Lubbock High 2 and returned it to the 41, allowing the Westerners to run out the first-half clock to preserve the two-point lead.

To comment on this story:

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COOPER 29, LUBBOCK HIGH 21

Cooper 7 12 8 2 — 29

Lubbock High 14 7 0 0 — 21

First Quarter

COO — McLane Sanderson 12 pass from Travis Windham (Ryan Fetter kick); 7:22

LHS — Dominique Zuniga 51 pass from Layven Armendariz (Ryan Rodriguez kick); 5:19

LHS — Erin Lopez 65 fumble return for touchdown (Rodriguez kick); 2:39

Second Quarter

COO — Ryan Moseley 9 pass from Windham (kick failed); 11:55

LHS — Armendariz 8 run (Rodriguez kick); 9:10

COO —Moseley 13 pass from Windham (pass failed); 7:17

Third Quarter

COO — Moseley 17 pass from Windham (Stanton Keane pass from Windham); 8:11

Fourth Quarter

COO — Safety, Brandon Hernandez tackled in end zone; 2:03

TEAM STATISTICS

COO LHS

First downs 26 11

Rushes-yards 46-176 33-90

Passing yards 236 103

Comp.-att.-int. 21-30-2 4-9-0

Punts-avg. 1-45.0 3-28.6

Fumbles-lost 3-1 0-0

Penalties-yards 9-70 7-85

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Cooper, Travis Windham 16-92, Stanton Keane 20-42, Ryan Fetter 5-23, Payden Piaskowski 2-12, Will Simonton 1-11, Christian Shorten 2-(-4); Lubbock High, Brandon Hernandez 21-74, Bam Jackson 2-15, Layven Armendariz 9-4, Michael Arrizola 1-(-3)

PASSING: Cooper, Windham 21-30-2—236; Lubbock High, Armendariz 4-9-0—103

RECEIVING: Cooper, Moseley 7-92, Tyler Parr 6-75, McLane Sanderson 4-57, Piaskowski 2-19, Simonton 1-(-3), Keane 1 (-5); Lubbock High, Dominique Zuniga 1-51, Cory Schovanec 1-44, Bam Jackson 1-13, Charles Keller 1-(-5).

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