Austin running back Tyler Cooper made Senior Night one to remember.
The senior rushed for four touchdowns in the Black Bears’ 42-28 win over Bob Jones on Friday.
“I had some great blocking from the offensive line,” Cooper said. “When I got through the line it was just a foot race.
Cooper won the footrace on his 78-yard run on the second play of the game. He outran the defense on his 26-yard touchdown run six minutes later. He did the same on his 31-yard dash in the third quarter.
The senior added his final touchdown on a three-yard run after being dragged down on a 31-yard run on the play before.
You got to give the guy a break. Austin head coach Jeremy Perkins wasn’t even sure Cooper was going to be able to play because of a bad ankle. He was pretty much a spectator at practice for the first two days of the week.
“That was great to see,” Perkins said. “He had a night to remember.”
While it was a great Senior Night for Austin, it was not perfect. The Black Bears had a slight chance to qualify for the playoffs, but it depended on a win over Bob Jones plus a Huntsville win over Sparkman.
The Black Bears (4-5, 3-4) did their part, but Sparkman (4-5, 4-3) edged Huntsville 28-27 to wrap up the fourth spot in the playoffs in Class 7A, Region 4. The top three teams in Region 4 are James Clemens (10-0, 7-0), Bob Jones (5-4, 5-2) and Florence (5-4, 5-2).
If Huntsville had beat Sparkman, there would have been a three-way tie for fourth. The tiebreaker is the number of wins of opponents outside your region. Austin plays at Mountain Brook (8-1) on Thursday.
“Well, we finished up our home schedule with a big win, and now we’ll go to Mountain Brook and play a real good team and try to finish the season on a high note,” Perkins said. “That would be big for this team.
“This has been a fun bunch to coach. We went from being 1-5 to winning three of our last four. This group has come to practice every day ready to work.”
Williams’ first two touchdown runs had Austin up 14-0 with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Bob Jones scored twice in the second quarter to make it 14-14 at halftime.
Austin broke the tie with 6:50 left in the third quarter on De’Air Young’s 62-yard touchdown pass to senior Jeremiah Burgess. That was a two-play, 80-yard drive.
The Black Bears’ next possession was a two-play, 37-yard drive with Cooper scoring on his 31-yard run to make it 28-14.
Austin scored on the third play of the fourth quarter on Young’s 23-yard touchdown pass to freshman Jaxon Potter. Cooper’s final touchdown came with 5:28 to play.
Bob Jones scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to produce the final margin of 42-28.
“I was real proud of how our team played tonight,” Cooper said. “We’ve come a long way since the first game. I wished we had played this good from the start.”
Austin now leads the series with Bob Jones, 13-7. The Black Bears have won six of the last seven meetings.