Abilene Cooper turned takeaways into touchdowns as the Cougars big-played their way to a 56-34 District 3-5A Division 1 football win over Granbury’s Pirates at Shotwell Stadium Friday night.
Cooper (3-2, 1-1) struck first and often and established a 21-0 lead thanks to an 84-yard scoring pass 23 seconds into the game and tacked on two more scores after just six offensive snaps.
Cooper defenders dropped Pirate quarterback Austin Jinkerson six times, and the first big sack resulted in the first of three miscues the Cougars would turn into touchdowns.
While it wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard, Granbury (3-2, 1-1) outplayed Cooper the remainder of the way but playing from behind all night, and four total turnovers were too much to overcome.
Statistically, the Pirates dominated the game, with Jinkerson going 27-58-1 passing with a 19-yard touchdown to Gus Hamlin and a 20-yarder to Dereck Lacy. The senior signal-caller hit six different receivers for 328 yards and found Hamin 12 times (193 yards) and Crash Davis six times (40 yards).
Jadon Rogers had a game-high 155 yards on 17 carries and had a dazzling 74-yard sprint for a touchdown in the third quarter. Tyler Rogers rushed for 43 yards to push the rushing totals, but the six drops of Jinkerson dropped the Pirates’ rushing totals to 155 yards.
In the end, it all boiled down to the Pirates’ inability to hang on to the football. The three fumbles left the Cougars with a short field, turning all of Granbury’s miscues into touchdowns.
Granbury’s defense limited the Cougars to 150 yards rushing on 42 attempts, and 42 percent of Cooper’s air attack came on their first play from scrimmage on the long score.
The kick scoring of Drew Henderson was a highlight for Granbury as he connected on field goals of 23 and 22 yards in the second quarter. Luke Stettler-Yates finished the scoring for Granbury as the Pirates never quit trying and scored with 35 ticks on the clock.
The Pirates have a bye week coming up before they travel to Fort Worth Brewer at 7 p.m. Oct. 8. The Bears (4-1, 2-0) topped Crowley 53-21 and beat Saginaw in their District opener 66-20.
Azle (4-1, 2-0) has emerged as the 3-5A favorite as the Hornets have given up just 99 points through five games and only 13 in two league games.
RUSHING: Granbury, Jadon Rogers 17-155, Tyler Rodgers 6-43, Luke Stettler 1-3, Austin Jinkerson 18-(-53). Cooper, Jeremiah Riley 7-61, Mikei Flye 7-50, Chris Warren 6-13, Cameron Herron 1-31, Nimfasha Oliver 1-0.
PASSING: Granbury, Austin Jinkerson 27-57-1—328, Rogers 0-1-0—00. Cooper, Chris Warren 10-13-1—198, Keegan Anderson 0-3-0—00.
RECEIVING: Granbury, Gus Hamlin 12-193, Crash Davis 6-40, Halston Main 1-33, J. Rogers 4-22, Dereck Lacy 2-24, Chad Flatt 2-16. Cooper, Caleb Kasongo 5-110, Herron 2-66, Malik Jackson 1-9 Cullen McMillon 1-7, D’Andre Ralston 1-6.
RECORD: Granbury 3-2, 1-1; Cooper 3-2. 1-1.
Russell@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066 Ext. 231