An irresistible force met an immovable object Friday night at Conner's Fred Nevel Stadium, with the force of the Conner offense moving the Cooper defense enough for a 38-21 victory for the Cougars.
The Cougars' homecoming win leaves both teams 1-1 in district play, and was the opposite of last year, when the favored Cougars lost to Cooper on their homecoming night. Conner improved to 4-2 overall, while the Jaguars suffered their first defeat, and fell to 6-1.
"We knew we were going to have to play flawless to win and we didn't do that," said Cooper coach Randy Borchers. "We made a couple mistakes in the first half, had a couple of drops, and that was the game."
Conner jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead over the Jags, courtesy of a 40-yard touchdown run by Cameron Fogle and junior quarterback Drew Barker accounting for two touchdowns, one running and one on a five yard pass to Brian Loney. Cooper then took the first possession of the second half 62 yards in seven plays for their first score, a 10-yard run by senior quarterback Tyler Morris, making it a 21-7 game.
On Conner's first second half possession, Fogle went 56 yards on the first play from scrimmage for his second touchdown of the game. Fogle's biggest play of the night may have been a goal line interception with 7:19 to go and the Cougars holding a 31-21 lead. Instead of pulling within two or three points, the Jags were back on defense. Barker set up the game's final score with a 79-yard keeper that brought the Cougars to the one-yard line, where Fogle finished the scoring with a one-yard touchdown.
"I was disappointed I didn't get in, quarterbacks coach (Tim) Delph is always telling me not to get caught from behind, and I did,"Barker said, adding he expected to hear about that one in the locker room. "I'm just glad we scored. Coach had a great game plan and we executed to a tee."
"We had a plan," said Conner coach Dave Trosper. "We knew they were going to score, but we understand the roller coaster that happens during the game. We have to understand the sudden change of momentum."
Trosper said the game was a first for him during his six years at Conner, with the Cougars taking a knee at the end of the first half and at the final whistle. He and his team will host the Ryle Raiders next week.
Coach Borchers and his Jags will try to rebound on the road at South Oldham next Friday. "We didn't lose to a bad football team, we've got to regroup and get after it next week."