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2018 Prep Football Previews: Cooper coach expects experience to produce more wins this season

The NKyTribune will be featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2018 season on Aug. 17. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Evan Merrill
NKyTribune contributor

With all of the underclassmen who dominated last year’s starting lineup returning, Cooper football coach Randy Borchers expects the Jaguars to improve on the 2-9 record they posted in 2017.

“We knew we were going to have some growing pains,” Borchers said. “Obviously we did. We finished 2-9, not the season we expect or want to have. We do feel like we got better as the season went on. The record may not show it, but we do feel like we got better, especially after the bye week.”

Cooper senior Mikey Armour, left, will be back at the wide receiver position going into the 2018 season. (Photo by Allen Ramsey, dwcphoto.com)

The Jaguars have eight starters back on the offensive unit that got off to an 0-5 start last year with junior Mikey Armour at quarterback. That’s when coach Borchers made the call to move Armour back to his original wide receiver position and insert freshman Jeremiah Lee into the quarterback role.

Lee ended up passing for 602 yards and rushing for 503 in his varsity debut. Armour was the team’s leading receiver with 18 catches for 287 yards and five touchdowns.

They’ll both be trying to improve on those numbers this season.

“It was something that I wanted to do, especially because it would put me in a better position to lead the team,” Armour said of his short stint at quarterback. “I feel more comfortable playing receiver now that we have a quarterback with experience. I shine the best when I’m a receiver with the ball in my hands.”

Cooper also has leading rusher Anthony Witschey and three veteran linemen among the returning starters on offense. That gives the Jaguars more varsity experience than they had last season when they averaged just 224 yards and 15.6 points per game.

Borchers said the majority of the team’s scores came off of big plays. This year, he expects the offense to sustain more drives with Lee returning at quarterback.

“We feel like he’s going to be our guy,” the coach said of Lee. “We kind of made the commitment last year when we started playing him as a freshman. We were ready to go with him, take the growing pains and have it pay off for us down the road the next three years.”

Mikey Armour

As a senior with two years of varsity experience, Armour is taking on a leadership role even though he’s not going to be running the offense.

“I’m not a vocal leader,” he said. “I do lead by example, that’s easier for me because I’ve never been a talkative person on or off the field. Senior leadership’s going to be key this year. I don’t think we had a lot of it last year, but going into the season I think we have a lot of guys who can step up and take charge.”

Cooper will also have two senior veterans — Michael Attabary and Michael Spencer — anchoring the offensive and defensive front lines. They’re both considered college prospects.

“We do feel like we’re going to be pretty strong up front this year, where that was our weakness last year,” coach Borchers said. “We’re a team that wants to be able to run the ball and we feel like we’re going to be able to do that this year.”

Cooper has the same schedule as last year when the team didn’t get its first win until October. Borchers doesn’t expect that to happen this season.

“The one thing we got going for us, you look early in the season, we have as much if not more experience than teams we’re playing against,” he said. “I think experience can go a long way, especially early in the season.”

2017 season:
2-9 record, lost in first round of Class 6A playoffs.
District: Class 6A, District 5 with Conner and Ryle.
Head coach: Randy Borchers (65-73 in 12 seasons overall, 58-59 in 10 seasons at Cooper).

Aug. 17 – at Highlands, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 – COVINGTON CATHOLIC, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 7 – at Campbell County, 7 p.m.
Sept. 14 – SIMON KENTON, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28 – at Dixie Heights, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5 – at Ryle, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 – BOONE COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 – CONNER, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 – LEXINGTON HENRY CLAY, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:



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