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Special Trifecta: Cooper’s Unique Three-TD Night Puts Stressful Two Weeks Behind Union/A-C Valley

Monday, September 20, 2021 @ 12:09 AM

Posted by Mike Kilroy

IMG_9342RIMERSBURG, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Ryan Cooper has been hunting for the end zone all season.

In the first month, however, paydirt had always eluded the Union/A-C Valley junior.

(Photo by Heather Nulph)

Until Friday night at Otto-Eldrid, that is. Cooper ended his scoring drought in a big — and unique — way.

The junior wide receiver/defensive back returned a kickoff for a touchdown, an interception for a score and also caught a TD pass in the Falcon Knights’ 42-0 romp.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

It’s a rare trifecta — three TDs, each in a different phase of the game.

“It felt great,” Cooper said. “I can’t believe I saw my first touchdowns of the season that way. Honestly, it just felt amazing.”

It felt even better for Cooper and the Falcon Knights after what the team has had to endure over the last two weeks.

Cooper, an A-C Valley student, was stuck in COVID-19 quarantine after an outbreak at that school that forced the cancelation of a game last Thursday against Bucktail.

The whole team had very little practice time together before the long trip to Otto-Eldred Friday. Still, Union/A-C Valley dominated to move to 2-1. The Falcon Knights logged their second consecutive shutout in the process.

“It was amazing after having a week off, not practicing, not having a game,” Cooper said. “It felt good getting back on the field.”

Cooper started his three TD night by catching a 5-yard touchdown pass from Bailey Crissman midway through the second quarter to get Union/A-C Valley rolling.

The Falcon Knights’ passing game has started to click with Crissman at the controls and a bevy of dangerous weapons — Cooper included — at his disposal.

“It’s really fun to have Bailey as the quarterback,” Cooper said. “He has an amazing arm and he can also run the ball, too.”

Cooper scored again on an 85-yard kickoff return to start the second half.

“It was me, the kicker and another guy at the end,” Cooper said. “All I had to do was get out of their way and it was basically just there for me.”

His third touchdown is the one Cooper is most proud of.

Otto-Eldred had been running screen passes all game. Cooper jumped one, picked off the pass and raced 27 yards for a score moments after his kickoff return.

“It was just a matter of time before I read it perfectly,” Cooper said. “That was the time.”

Union/A-C Valley hosts Elk County Catholic Friday. The Crusaders canceled their game Friday because of injuries and low numbers.

That used to be a problem at both A-C Valley and Union until the co-op between the two schools began. Cooper said the A-C Valley and Union players came together quickly and continue to mingle well on the same team.

Why? Simple.

“We know neither school would have a football team without the other,” Cooper said. “We need each other.”

BROCKWAY FALLS SATURDAY NIGHT — The Rovers lost their opponent, Coudersport, earlier in the week and scrambled to get a game. Maplewood was in the same boat after Union City was forced to call off its game.

So, the two teams decided to square off against each other Saturday night.

Brockway led 7-0 at the half before Maplewood scored 18 unanswered in the final two quarters for the 18-7 victory.

The Maplewood football Twitter account extended a thank you to Brockway.

“We would like to thank Brockway Rovers for making the 2 hour trip to Maplewood. We are grateful both teams were able to play tonight. Thank you.”

LENT CONTINUES TORRID PLAY — Smethport’s Noah Lent is having a dream season.

The quarterback accounted for five touchdowns in the Hubbers’ 40-0 win over Bucktail.

Lent rushed for 140 yards and two scores and also threw for more than 100 yards and three touchdowns for Smethport (4-0).

Lent now leads all of District 9 in rushing with 640 yards.

COUDRIET ALSO SHINES — St. Marys has its own dangerous quarterback in Christian Coudriet.

The senior completed 30 of 42 for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the 41-21 win for the Dutch over Punxsutawney.

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Redbank Valley, Keystone, and Union/A-C Valley sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Heeter Lumber.

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