Mildred rushes past Cooper, 38-14
By Raymond Linex II
LINDALE – When teams across the state think about Mildred, they likely think of a high-flying, pass-crazed spread offense that airs it out.
But the Eagles can run the ball. And well.
Mildred rushed for 356 yards and outslugged Cooper, 38-14, in the Region II-2A Division II area finals in Lindale. Draylon Sterling ran for 240 yards and four touchdowns and the Eagles (10-1), state semifinalists a year ago, are off and running in the 2012 playoffs.
“Just because we’re a spread team, we’re not finesse,” Mildred head coach Patrick Harvell said. “We’ve got some guys up front that get after it.”
Cooper, which ran for 243 yards, finished its season at 6-6. The Eagles are tentatively set to play Clarksville (8-3), which won Cooper’s District 8-2A DII, at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Royse City.
Jeremy Ballard added 106 yards on 11 carries for the Eagles, and quarterback Nic Shimonek had two big first down runs late, after the Sterling-Ballard combo forced Cooper to focus on the middle.
The Bulldogs kept that high-flying passing game in check, but the Eagles also didn’t do themselves any favors.
Up 17-8 late in the second, Jonathan Harrison had a ball he normally snares go through his hands on a slant in the end zone. The drive, set up by a 50-yard return by Ballard after his team-leading eighth interception, ended in a missed field goal.
Then, after Mildred came out and scored on a 37-yard Sterling run – his second touchdown run of the night – to open the third, they were driving to possibly take a 31-8 lead. Instead, another slant pass to Harrison went off his hands, and into Jermey Mims’ for Cooper.
Mims returned it 24 yards to the Cooper 28, and the Bulldogs mounted a 12-play drive to make it 28-14. Mims carried the final six yards.