Muleshoe quarterback Brant Hamilton shakes off Lubbock Cooper outside linebacker Patrick Stevens during the first half of of Friday’s game in Muleshoe. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)
John Eisel: CNJ sports writer
MULESHOE — Muleshoe’s defense couldn’t only take the pounding so long.
Running straight at the smaller Mules’ defense, Cooper rolled up 358 yards and three second-half touchdowns en route to a 28-13 win in a District 2-3A game Friday at Benny Douglass Stadium.
Backup quarterback Trey Wood did most of the damage for the Pirates (7-2, 3-0 district), passing for 102 yards and a touchdown and added three short rushing TDs.
Muleshoe (6-2, 1-1) came into the contest allowed less than 150 yards per outing.
“They’re just a big, fast team and they just wore us down,” Muleshoe coach David Wood said.
Cooper’s Wood was playing in place of starter Howell Finch, who sat out the game with a bruised shoulder.
“We discovered that we have two quarterbacks that can get it done,” Cooper coach John Windham said.
Blanked in the first half, Muleshoe used a couple of trick plays to jumpstart its offense.
Sophomore quarterback Brant Hamilton raced straight up the middle from 22 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. A 17-yard pass on a fake punt from Chris Kindle to tight end Joel Salcido kept the drive alive. However, the extra-point try fell short, leaving the Mules down 14-13.
On Muleshoe’s first drive of the third quarter, Salcido took a 45-yard pass from receiver Tyler Wood that led to the Mules’ first touchdown on a Hamilton keeper. Salcido caught five passes for 104 yards.
Up 14-13, Cooper drove 53 yards in 12 plays with Wood and running back Cory Cleveland doing most of the damage. Wood hopped over the goal line from a few inches away for a 21-13 lead.
Muleshoe wasn’t done though, as a 37-yard pass from Hamilton to Salcido put the Mules at the Cooper 26. But on the next play, Hamilton lost control of the snap and fumbled the ball away with six minutes left.
The Pirates took back to the ground and ate the clock and the Mules’ timeouts. Deep in Muleshoe territory, Wood hit a wide open Josh Barrnet on fourth-and-17, putting the ball at the 2. Wood scored his final touchdown on the next play.
“They converted and we didn’t,” Wood said.
Cooper controlled the ball for 17:38 of the 24-minute half en route to a 6-0 halftime lead.
Cooper 0 6 8 14 — 28
Muleshoe 0 0 7 6 — 13
Coo — Josh Barnett 31-yard pass from Trey Wood (kick blocked), 2:34
Mul — Brant Hamilton 2-yard run (Ely Villa kick), 9:16
Coo — Wood 2-yard run (Wood run), 2:34
Mul — Hamilton 22-yard run (kick failed), 11:52
Coo — Wood 1-yard run (Jakob Cunningham kick), 6:41
Coo — Wood 5-yard run (Cunningham kick), 1:43
First downs 15 9
Rushing yards 55-256 20-94
Passing yards 102 158
Total yards 358 252
Com-Att-Int 6-9-0 8-17-1
Punts-yards 1-44 2-35
Penalties-yards 6-41 6-50
Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-1
RUSHING — Cooper, Josh Barnett 6-42, Bradley Madison 18-69, Trey Wood 24-70, Cory Cleveland 6-44, Shawn Stults 1-31. Muleshoe, Brant Hamilton 10-38, Juan Reyes 4-9, Brady Black 5-44, Joel Salcido 1-3.
PASSING — Cooper, Wood 6-9-0 102. Muleshoe, Hamilton 6-15-1 96, Tyler Wood 1-1-0 45, Chris Kindle 1-1-0 17.
RECEIVING — Cooper, Madison 1-14, T.J. Stevens 1-9, Barnett 4-79. Muleshoe, Salcido 5-104, Black 2-26, Hamilton 1-17, Tyler Wood 1-11.
RECORDS — Lubbock Cooper 7-2, 3-0 District 2-3A. Muleshoe 6-2, 1-1.