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Coop de Ville

Junior QB shines as Mountaineers snap 19-game skid to WB

Heritage junior D.J. Cooper calls for the snap during the jamboree last month. Photos by Wallace Bowden

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

D.J. Cooper has the better arm.

What Heritage gains with Prater French at receiver perhaps had as much to do with it, though.

The Mountaineers went with Cooper at quarterback Friday night at William Blount, and Heritage roared to life in the second quarter en route to a 32-17 victory and the end of a 19-game William Blount win streak in the series.

Cooper, a junior and the Barley’s/Blount Press Row Player of the Week, finished 9-of-18 passing for 200 yards with no interceptions and a 51-yard touchdown toss to Zach Auburn. On the ground, the tall, rangy passer rushed five times for 40 yards and a 26-yard score.

One of Cooper’s biggest throws on the night was a 63-yard completion to French. The play set the stage for the Cooper TD scamper.

Prater French (12) leads the Mountaineers onto the field at South-Doyle earlier this season.

Prater French (12) leads the Mountaineers onto the field at South-Doyle earlier this season.

Cooper and French, a senior, were hastily thrown into competition when senior Cameron Carter, the starter at quarterback, suffered a broken collar bone in a preseason game the week of the jamboree. At the time, French was one of the team’s top playmakers at receiver.

His athleticism gives the Mountaineers another strong run option out of the spread formation. With Cooper at quarterback and French at receiver, Heritage gains a game-breaker on the outside.

Heritage coach Tim Hammontree hasn’t scheduled a press conference to announce who’ll start this week’s big Region 2-5A game at Gibbs.

We don’t expect him too, either.

Cooper or French?

When all is said and done, the deciding factor may again prove what the Mountaineers gain with both of them on the field more so than who’s better at quarterback.

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