Amarillo High falls hard to Lubbock-Cooper in 2-5A DI defeat

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Amarillo High running back Pius Vokes turns it up field against Lubbock-Cooper during a District 2-5A Division I clash at Dick Bivins Stadium on Friday. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
Things never really got started for the Amarillo High Sandies and only seemed to get more dismal as the game went along like the Panhandle weather Friday night.

In a District 2-5A Division I matchup at Dick Bivins Stadium with major implications, the Sandies were in a hole from practically the start against Lubbock-Cooper and never recovered. Cooper led the entire way in sending Amarillo High to a 38-21 defeat.

With the loss, the Sandies fell below .500 in both overall and district play, at 3-4 and 1-2 respectively.

Amarillo High fell into a hole early, as Cooper (5-1, 2-0) opened the game with 17 unanswered points to send the Sandies to a 24-7 halftime deficit. The Pirates opened the game with 17 unanswered points, ending the first quarter with a pick six which seemed to underscore Amarillo High’s struggles on the night.

“We go three-and-out right off the bat which didn’t help us,” AHS coach Chad Dunnam said. “We gave up and touchdown then gave up an interception for a touchdown. We couldn’t get any momentum going offensively.”

Cooper scored on its first two possessions as Amarillo High had two three-and-outs. The Pirates concluded their first two drives with a 47-yard field goal by Cub Patton and a 1-yard scoring run by quarterback Tyler Spruiell (the first of his two scoring runs) for a 10-0 lead.

But the biggest play of the first quarter came from Cooper’s defense. Amarillo High quarterback Mason Graham scrambled and threw over the middle, and Will Flaming tried to catch the ball but instead ended up tipping it back to Cooper defensive lineman Landen Dorris, who ran it back 48 yards for a touchdown to give the Pirates a 17-0 lead with 42 seconds left in the quarter.

The Sandies did bounce back with their best drive of the first half, concluding early in the second quarter on Graham’s 9-yard scoring run to cut it to 17-7. Amarillo High’s defense held Cooper on downs at the AHS 33-yard line on the ensuing possession and the Sandies seemed to have some momentum with 3:40 left in the half.

However, Amarillo High turned in a three-and-out, punting the ball back to the Pirates. They took advantage by driving for another Spruiell scoring run, this one from 2 yards with 16 seconds left in the half to make it 24-7.

“Right before halftime we probably should have run time off the clock,” Dunnam said. “We were trying to play aggressively and I’ll never fault our guys for doing that. We gave them the ball back with a little over two minutes left and let them drive almost 70 yards, which was just rough.”

It didn’t get any better to start the second half. The Pirates kept the ball for the first 5:48 of the half, all running plays with the exception of a 9-yard scoring pass from Spruiell to Sam Marcinowski to conclude the drive and make it 31-7. That was the only pass Cooper threw in the second half.

The Sandies had consecutive three-and-out possessions to start the second half and didn’t score again until the final 70 seconds of the game, well after the issue had been decided. Graham scored another touchdown on a 2-yard run, and Collin Rozzell scored on a 10-yard run with 17 seconds left to make the score look far more respectable.

Amarillo High managed only 186 yards of total offense.

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