BY OLIVIA LEWIS
The stadium filled up with black, white and red as the Cooper City High School students and families started piling into the stands for the Homecoming Game on November 3d. The Sound of Pride band could be seen on the side of the field along with the varsity cheerleading squad, waiting for the football team to run their traditional route through the helmet on the field. Every inch of the home side of the bleachers was covered, with fans coming out to support their school team. Not only was it the Cowboys’ last game of the season, but it was also Homecoming Night. The players were determined to beat their rivals and win for their school. The Cooper City High School varsity football team faced off against Western High School on Friday, November 3. The Cowboys fought until the end; however, the Wildcats came out on top with a score of 47-7.
The Wildcats had the first kick off, with the Cowboys receiving it and running it down to gain a few yards. The game went back and forth between the two teams, each of them determined to make the first touchdown. The Wildcats forced the Cowboys to punt the ball, allowing Western to gain position with five minutes left. Junior Mark Fontana made the stop at the 50-yard-line, keeping the Wildcats at a good distance from the end zone. Western was able to make a 25-yard run; however, there was a flag on the play and it was called back. The teams battled up until the last 30 seconds when the Wildcats ran the ball in for a touchdown. They went for the two-point conversion, and it was successful, making the score of the first quarter 0-8.
While the teams got water and talked with their coaches, two of the Cooper City High School’s teams were called onto the field to be honored for their achievements. The swimming team, which was very successful this year, walked through the helmet to the center of the field. They were followed by the back-to-back district volleyball champions. Afterwards the two teams playing that night walked back onto the field and the game resumed.
The Cowboys took the ball at the 45-yard-line and set up for their first play of the second quarter. Senior Kobie Simmons had a vigorous run all the way to the 3-yard-line, putting the Cowboys in a great position to tie the game up. Two plays after, the Cowboys were successful and scored their first touchdown of the game. Senior Lucas Gross kicked the field goal, making the score 7-8 with ten minutes left. Gross took an onside kick, which was touched by Western but went out of bounds. The Wildcats took the ball at the 35-yard-line. Western made a catch at the 30-yard-line and ran it all the way to the 10-yard line, making it first and goal.
With nine minutes left, the Wildcats were able to get past the Cowboys defense and score another touchdown. Going for the two-point conversion again, the Wildcats made the score 7-16. Western took the kick, giving the Cowboys the ball at the 40-yard line. Junior Arthur Brefil received the ball and ran it all the way to the 4-yard line; however, a flag was called on the play and it didn’t count. Soon after, the Cowboys turned the ball over to the Wildcats. The Wildcats took advantage of that and ran the ball in for another touchdown. With four minutes left, they went for the two-point conversion, making the score 7-24. Cooper received the kickoff and ran it to the 45-yard-line. A turnover was forced and the Wildcats were able to score their fourth touchdown of the game. With a minute left in the first half, the score was made 7-32.
At halftime, the teams retreated to their side lines and went into their huddles while the Cooper City High School band lined up on the field, along with color guard and the varsity cheerleaders. Homecoming court representatives were announced for every grade, walking down the middle of the field together with their sashes on. The big moment arrived for the seniors as the king and queen were announced; varsity football player Jonah Sanchez won king and varsity cheerleader Brittany Passalacqua won queen. The homecoming court then walked off the field and back into the stands as the football team stretched and prepared for the second half.
Western had the first kick off, with the Cowboys returning the ball for a few yards. Senior quarterback Michael DiLiello ran the ball and gained three yards for the Cowboys. The Cowboys continued to run the ball, but were unsuccessful. They made it all the way to the 37-yard-line, where senior Andrew Hausdorff caught a pass. Brefil ran the ball soon after, but the ball was turned over to the Wildcats. Western had the ball at the 35-yard-line at 1st and 10. The referees called a water break with five minutes and thirty seconds left in the third quarter.
Both teams came back out and resumed the game. Western broke the Cowboy’s defense and ran the ball in for a touchdown, making the score 7-40. Western took the kickoff, and senior Landon Segarra caught the ball and ran it to the 48-yard-line. The Cooper City coaches made a quick change for their quarterback and kept playing. Sanchez received a hand off and ran it 3 yards, making it 2nd and 6 on the 50-yard-line. Simmons made a run for the ball, but had it knocked out of his hands by the Western player. The Wildcats took position once again and began to challenge the Cowboys. A Western player ran a 49-yard touchdown with three minutes left; however, a flag was called and it didn’t count. It was the Wildcats ball on 2nd and 5 at the Cowboys 25-yard-line where sophomore Corey Silverberg made the stop. Junior Ray Batten made the next stop on the Cowboys 21-yard-line, making it 1st and 10 for the Wildcats. Soon after, a Cooper City player got injured and was taken off the field, but the game started again quickly. The Wildcats ran the ball in for a touchdown with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. They went for the field goal, and it was good, making the score 7-47.
“Playing on this team has been one of the best experiences of my life,” DiLiello said. “The bond the other players and I have made over these four years was even better.”
Although the Cowboys were losing, they remained determined to win.. Cooper City pressured the Wildcats in the last quarter of the game, causing them to make turnovers. The ball went back and forth, but neither team scored a touchdown in the last quarter. Although the Cowboys lost, they took it in stride. The fans cheered as the final whistle was blown, and each team showed great sportsmanship to each other. The team walked back into their locked room with their helmets in their hands and their heads held high.
“I wouldn’t change being on this team for the world,” senior Mark Brent said. “It was an honor to play the game I love throughout my life and I am thankful for all of the great memories and life lessons that have come with football.”
Final score: Cooper City 7, Western 47
Photo by Ben Milgram