A year ago, Abilene Cooper head coach Aaron Roan was returning his starting quarterback and running back, but he was worried about inexperience on the offensive and defensive lines. Well, no problem: The Cougars breezed to the District 3-5A Division I title with a 6-0 mark last season. Cooper finished 7-2 overall after being upset by Mansfield Summit in bi-district.
Roan’s concerns are just the opposite this year, however. The Cougars return experienced offensive and defensive lines, but they have to replace quarterback Aidan Thompson and running back Noah Garcia, who finished their careers as the leading passer and rusher, respectively, in school history. Cooper, which averaged more than 500 yards total offense per game in 2020, returns six starters on offense and seven on defense.
Cullen McMillon (7-51 rushing and 4-9-91 passing in limited playing time) will take over at quarterback, while Jeremiah Riley (70-495, 6 TDs rushing) will try to fill the void left by Garcia’s graduation at running back.
Hagen Davilla and Lawrence Diles are returning all-district players on the offensive line, and Brayden Flores is another experienced returning starter on the O-line. Caleb Kasongo (12-179, 1 TD receiving) and Cameron Herron will be counted on at wide receiver.
All-district LB Jacob Deax (6 sacks), LB Johnathon Vanwinkle (100 tackles) and DB Jett Villareal (1 INT) head up an experienced defensive unit.
Roan said Deax is a three-year varsity player who provides “great leadership.”
Also back on defense are DL Jaidan Baity, all-district DL Jacobe Moore and LB Lucas David.