Lubbock Cooper primed for State Semifinals

Lubbock Cooper vs. Aledo

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - For the first time ever, the Lubbock Cooper Pirates are set to play in the State Semifinals.

The 13-1 Pirates are set to face the 13-1 Bearcats from Aledo High School for the right to play in the Class 5A Division II State Championship game.

“Eight State Championships, I believe the most in 11-man football in the state of Texas,” Lubbock Cooper head coach Chip Darden said on Sports Xtra, talking about Aledo’s record. “That’s as good as it gets obviously.”

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Since losing their season opener to Denton Guyer, Aledo has rattled off 13-straight wins and has a habit of winning big.

In this 2019 season, Aledo has a combined point differential of 742-256 , while the Pirates have done much the same in the playoffs this year, defeating Fort Worth Wyatt, El Paso Burges, Canyon Randall and Wichita Falls Rider with a combined mark of 211-38.

“What really stands out on the field is how hard they play. To me that is best sign of coaching,” Darden said about Aledo. “Good coaching is when kids are playing hard and playing the right way, and that’s how they do it.”

Coming into Saturday's game, both teams will be physical on defense and both teams love to run the rock.

"They run the ball a lot and why wouldn't you? Their offensive line, they are just so well coached on top of being so big and physical," Darden said.

The Pirates ground game is headlined by Isaiah Johnson, Nehemiah Martinez and a solid offensive line, and they will need to be big for Coach Darden's squad.

“Running the football is our style, that is what we like to do,” Darden said. “We believe in stopping the run and running the ball is winning football. I think whoever can run the ball the best tomorrow is the one who is going to get it done.”

Kickoff is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. at Abilene Christian Universities Wildcat Stadium.

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