The Turnaround – One Cooper down, another Cooper to go

gamestrat high school football sideline instant replay

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Football Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

Lubbock High School kicker Ryan Huber

Lubbock HS kicker Ryan Huber booted two FG’s last Friday against Abilene Cooper.
Photo courtesy of Abby Reed Photography

District play began on Friday with a trip to Abilene Cooper. The Cougars came into 2014 as the odds on favorite to win District 4-5A. They are big and physical; definitely the fastest team we have played.

We gave them all we had but came up short in a 24-6 loss. We did a lot of good things. Three years ago we were down 56-0 at halftime against these guys. We have come a long way.

Ryan Huber drilled FG’s of 49 and 32 yards for us. At one point we were within 14-6. Not bad despite all the injuries we have endured. 10 sophomores and 1 freshmen making an impact for us now. We have to be pleased with the effort we are getting.

On to another Cooper this week.

This week is going to be fun. We get to prepare and plan for one of my best friends in this profession. Max Kattwinkel, better known as the Mad Katter to me, brings his Cooper Pirates into PlainsCapital Park on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

This is Kat’s second year in charge at Cooper. What a tremendous job he has done. They had a deep playoff run last year and they are clicking his year. They are a solid team. They play physical. They can do it all, as witnessed on ESPN by a national television audience. The Westerners have a tough one this week. We need to be ready.

I can talk about our prep work for Cooper all week. But right now I’m going to talk about Kat.

Coach Kat does it the right way. His team plays with respect and they play the game the way it should be played. The way Kat and his staff work with their kids is impressive. They are all about the players and do everything they can for them on and off the field. He is someone a young coach should look to and take away as much as can from him. He won’t steer you the wrong way.

Earlier this year, Kat checked in with me on the health of our QB. A few weeks later he text me on a Saturday morning reminding me of some things that are easily forgotten when you go through some of the things we have this year. It was the jolt of energy I needed. There was Kat, a district foe, picking me up and telling me to keep going.

I called Kat while they were traveling to Tarelton to take on Stephenville. Why would I call? To wish him and his team good luck. I watched that game on ESPN that night as a Lubbock Cooper Pirate fan. It was awesome to see the Pirates on national TV and come away with a win. I could not have been more happy for another coach. Kat had his guys ready.

We were texting each other on Friday night while both of us were traveling back to Lubbock with our teams. We agreed this week is tough when you are friends with the guy on the other sideline. But we both agreed that no matter what happens our relationship will always be the same.

This is a great profession. Max Kattwinkel and coaches like him make this job and line of work a lot of fun!

Kat will be our guest blogger this week. Looking forward to hearing from one of the best coaches this state has to offer!

More tomorrow…

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.