[Cooper’s Jakob Dennis runs the ball during the 55-7 route of the Raiders. Ben Jenkins/ Press Pass Sports]
What a difference a month makes.
Randall saw its revived season come crashing down Friday evening when District 3-5A Division II foe Lubbock Cooper played like a football machine.
Cooper scored touchdowns on its opening six possessions in the first half and used that impressive effort as the catalyst for a 58-14 dominating win over Randall in a Class 5A Division II regional semifinal played out on a wet, foggy evening at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium.
Randall ends its season at 5-8, while Cooper moves to 12-1 and will meet Wichita Falls Rider in the state quarterfinals next week.
The physical Pirates fast offensive explosion built a 42-0 lead by halftime and for the game their offense did not punt once.
Meanwhile, Randall didn’t record its first first down of the game until 8:21 remained in the first half and Cooper holding a 28-0 lead.
Randall had high hopes coming in as not that long ago on Nov. 8 gave Cooper fits in a regular season finale. Cooper won that home game 37-31.
So what changed?
“Sometimes that just happens,” said Cooper coach Chip Darden said. “When you are on their end things can snowball a little bit. But I thought our kids played harder in this game than the first meeting. I think that’s what showed. I thought our kids brought a lot of energy.”
Darden won’t get any arguments from Randall.
Randall coach Gaylon Selman, his team in the third round of the playoffs for the second straight year, said Cooper “was a a buzzsaw. We ran into a buzzsaw that first half. They did what we thought they would do and ran right us which is their strength. They have a big offensive line with great backs. We threw some chances defensively and we knew we had to and it just didn’t work out.
“Hey, both sides of the ball they are solid. I think they have a legitmate shot to go a lot farther.”
Cooper set the tone early scoring touchdown on drives of 69 and 80 yards building a 14-0 lead having run off 20 offensive plays to Randall’s three six minutes into the game.
Randall never recovered from Cooper’s quick start.
Cooper led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter, 42-0 at half and then 55-0 at the end of third period.
Cooper finished with a hefty 561 yards of offense, 417 of those yards on the ground led by senior running back Nehemiah Martinez’ 116 yards on five carries and three touchdowns.
Randall finished with 211 yards of offense, 165 of those passing yards by senior quarterback Jakobe Norman.
Randall avoided the shutout scoring a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Jordan Norton, Randall’s leading rusher with 48 yards, put the Raiders on the board with a 7-yard TD run 12 seconds into the final quarter, then Norman found Mason Tupin open in the middle of the end zone late in the game for 21 yards and the final score.
Randall had an interesting and challenging season starting 1-5, but rebounded to make the playoffs and secure playoff wins over Northwest and Canutillo.
“I can’t be more proud of my guys,” Selman said. “They fought it all year all the negativity coming from the outside. They just kept it inside and kept being positive and busting their tails. It paid off for them. We had a good little run here and I hate to see it end. But I’m super proud of the guys and the coaches and all the work they put in.”
Lubbock Cooper 21 21 13 3 — 58 Randall 0 0 14 — 14
C-Nehemiah Martinez 56 run (Brock Thompson kick), 10:42
C-Martinez 25 run (Thompson kick), 5:57
C-Isaiah Johnson 19 pass from Cooper LaFebre (Thompson kick), 3:35
C-Martinez 1 run (Thompson kick), 10:06
C-Johnson 31 run (Thompson kick), 6:46
C-Jacob Dennis 3 run (Thompson kick), 4:25
C-Tyler Hairston 7 run (Thompson kick), 9:11
C-Thompson 42 FG, 6:29
C-Thompson 37 FG, 4:15
R-Jordan Norton 7 run (Juan Garcia kick), 11:48
C-Thompson 23 FG, 5:50
R-Mason Tupin 21 pass from JaKobe Norman (Garcia kick), 3:33
First downs 23 12
Yards Rushing 417 46
Yards Passing 144 165
Total Yards 561 211
C-A-I 12-14-0 11-21-1
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
Punts-Average 0-0 5-40.8
Penalties-Yards 7-73 3-35
LUBBOCK COOPER – (top three) Nehemiah Martinez 5-116, Isiah Johnson 6-90, Tyler Hairston 5-87. RANDALL – (top two) Jordan Norton 12-48, Patrick Perea 8-7.
LUBBOCK COOPER – Cooper LaFebre 8-10-0_119; Martinez 2-2-0_18; Lane Bloomer 2-2-07. RANDALL _ Jakobe Norman 11-21-1_165.
LUBBOCK COOPER – (top two) Ty Carter 3-34; Cameron Bednarz 2-43; Isiah Johnson 2-37. RANDALL (top two) Mason Tupin 5-52; Michael Miller 2-24.