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The US Marines Backyard Battle Series converges with our 9 On Your Sidelines tour in a highly anticipated matchup between county rivals as the Boone County Rebels are set to pay a visit to Cooper to tangle with the Jaguars.
Cooper has been one of the great early-season surprises and enters the game as the third-ranked team in our latest NKY Team Rankings. Boone County has experienced a few bumps in the road early on, but they are well coached and should continue to improve each week.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Tune-In: Pregame show on WCPO-TV
Listen: TriStateFootball.com on IHigh
Follow on Twitter @TSFootball, #9gamenight
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Cooper quarterback Tyler Morris is the reigning Class 5A, District 5 Player of the Year. He holds the school records for career passing yards (1,713) and touchdown passes (22). Along with classmate AJ Collins, the duo makes for a dynamic backfield. Collins five touchdowns in 2012 give him 15 scores at the varsity level. Junior Aaron Morgan is making a difference in all three phases of the game to begin 2012. Lineman Taylor Centers is the motor that propels the defense. He has some very good talent surrounding him on that side of the ball with Avery Bricking, Tyler Brooks, Cory Fussinger and Ricky Martin.
Boone County running back Mustafa Diaw ran for a career-high 154 yards last week against Conner. He is averaging 111 yards per game this fall. The Rebels will spread the wealth rushing the ball with Casey Boston and quarterback Blake Ingolia getting their fair share of carries. Jeremiah Williams is capable of changing the game with his big playmaking ability.
TEAM TRENDS: Boone County has never lost to the Jaguars going 4-0 all-time in the series. The teams have met every year that Cooper has been in existence. The results have not been pretty for the Jaguars falling to the Rebels by an average score of 40-11 in the series. Cooper has won five of their last six contests with the only loss being to state runner-up Scott County in the playoffs. Since 2000, Boone County has won at least nine games in a season five times.
COOPER’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Head coach Randy Borchers has made the commitment to winning with defense and it is paying off. The Jaguars have given up 13 total points in two outings. They are allowing just 10.1 points over their last 10 games. The more three-and-outs that Cooper can create means more time for their explosive offense to be on the field.
BOONE COUNTY’S KEYS TO VICTORY: Moving the ball has not been a problem. The Rebels are averaging 280 yards on the ground and just under 400 yards of total offense per game. Keeping the opponent out of the end zone is a different story. The 73 points that Boone County has given up are the most for a two-game stint since the end of the 2010 season. Head coach Rick Thompson will look to stuff the box and make Cooper beat them through the air.
PREDICTION: COOPER 24, BOONE COUNTY 13
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.