BLUE RIDGE — Both the Cooper Bulldogs and Blue Ridge Tigers held undefeated records in district play entering Friday night’s matchup at Blue Ridge.
As expected, the teams battled it out neck-and-neck in a close first half, with Blue Ridge taking a 7-6 lead into the locker room at halftime.
However, Blue Ridge had the extra gear in the second half, avenged last year’s 50-3 thumping and handed the regining district champion Bulldogs their first defeat in league play under second-year head coach Rod Castorena by a final score of 20-6.
Cooper junior Jayden Limbaugh helped get the Bulldogs ahead early as he found the end zone late in the first quarter on an 91-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good, but the Bulldogs held a 6-0 lead.
Blue Ridge battled back on the ensuing drive, though, finding the end zone on a touchdown pass plus the PAT to take a 7-6 lead.
The teams defenses flexed their muscles in the second quarter, holding each other without a score, but Blue Ridge came out strong in the second half.
The Tigers cashed in on a 20-yard touchdown run late in the third to extend the lead to 14-6, then tacked on another quick touchdown before the quarter expired to make it 20-6, which held up as the final score.
Limbaugh led Cooper’s offense with 8 carries for 104 yards and 1 touchdown, while Robert Breeden led the defense with 10 tackles and 1 fumble recovery. Limbaugh also chipped in with 6 tackles on defense and a forced fumble.
The Bulldogs look to bounce back at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home against district foe Whitewright.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 F
Cooper: 6 0 0 0 6
Blue Ridge: 7 0 13 0 20
Cooper total yards: 177
Blue Ridge total yards: N/A
Cooper passing leaders: C. Sessums, 11-for-17, 185 yards
Cooper rushing leaders: C. Sessums, 20-145; L. Morrison, 24-144; G. Watts, 9-35
Cooper receiving leaders: B. Morrison, 4-91; B. Galloway, 3-51; C. Michael, 2-28; E. Rolen, 2-15