Cooper squibbed the ensuing kickoff, and Mildred’s Mikey Muncey picked it up at the 35, went right, found a seam in the middle and returned it 24 yards to the Cooper 42. Two plays later, Sterling went for 37 yards and his third score, and Mildred was back ahead, 31-14.
Mildred led 10-0 after the first on a 33-yard Devin O’Sullivan field goal, and a 32-yard Harrison touchdown reception in which he took the ball from over the shorter defender.
After Cooper made it 10-8 on a Grant Sepulveda 1-yard run, the Bulldogs looked like they were going to get the ball back in good field position after Shimonek was sacked, then threw an incompletion on third-and-25 from the Eagles’ 17.
But, Cooper was called for roughing the passer, giving the Eagles new life.
“That was a huge call,” Harvell said. “In this game, you have to be lucky once in a while.”
Sterling followed with two carries and a first, then Ballard went for 15 and 35, weaving and fighting his way down to the Cooper 6 on the latter. It set up Sterling’s first touchdown from six yards out, making it 17-8.
With the end result already secured, the Eagles ended with an impressive goal line stand in the final three minutes. Cooper had two cracks on third and fourth downs from the 1, but could not get in. On the final play, Nic Stone and Hunter Freeman stoned Sepulveda, turning the ball over at the 1 with 2:24 to play.
Within two plays, Mildred was at the Cooper 20, and went into the victory formation for the final two plays.
“This gives me confidence that we can play against any style team,” Harvell said. “… We needed to play a team like that, that was big and physical up front. The last time (a 70-22 loss at Centerville), it was not positive against another team that has a tight end and a fullback and smashes it down your throat.”