In just their fifth year of playing football, the Cooper Jaguars will be playing in the Kentucky Class 5A state championship after knocking off the Harlan County Black Bears in Friday's semi-final affair 17-7.
Harlan County (11-3) put the first points on the board with a 7-yard TD scamper by senior Treyvon Long in the first quarter. It would be the last time that Black Bears would dent the scoreboard on the evening.
After allowing 63 yards rushing on the first drive, the Cooper defense stiffened up. The Jaguars surrendered just 139 yards on the ground the rest of the night.
Senior quarterback Tyler Morris helped Cooper (13-1) answer in the second quarter as he connected with Aaron Morgan on a 75-yard scoring strike to knot the score at 7-7, which is how things stood as the game headed to the half. Morgan finished the night with a team-high eight receptions for 125 yards.
The Jaguars came out of the locker room looking good on offense and took the lead for good just two minutes into the third quarter when Morris scampered into the end zone from 21 yards out and just like that they were up 14-7.
Logan Turner's 29-yard field goal on Cooper's next possession provided some insurance and the Jaguars' defense took over from there, securing the victory on the road.
Cooper, who had never won a playoff game before this season, is now set to face off against Bowling Green next Saturday at Western Kentucky University for the state title.