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2019 Prep Football Previews: Cooper quarterback would like to pick up where he left off last season

The NKyTribune is featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2019 season on Aug. 23. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

In the final three games of his sophomore season, Cooper quarterback Jeremiah Lee generated more than 500 yards on the ground and through the air running a spread offense that was ideal for his athletic abilities.

The Jaguars won two of those games before their season ended with a one-point loss to Conner in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. But Lee had made his mark by sparking Cooper’s strong finish.

Cooper quarterback Jeremiah Lee dives for a first down in last year’s Class 6A playoff game against Conner. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

“I just tried to do what’s best for our team and stick to what the coaches had been telling me the whole season about doing things the right way,” Lee said. “Before the playoffs, something just clicked in my head and I really wanted to win. I did whatever it took to get us there.”

Lee is the top returning starter on the Cooper team that was moved to Class 5A in a statewide realignment and will compete in a new district with Boone County, Conner, Covington Catholic and Highlands this season.

Last year, the Jaguars had a 1-4 record against those four teams and finished 5-7 overall. Coach Randy Borchers expects to see a major improvement this season with a “strong nucleus” of varsity veterans returning to the lineup, including his quarterback. 

We really saw him improving quite a bit last year,” Borchers said of Lee. “We saw him improve where he lived to play another down. Every play doesn’t need to be a touchdown, take what the defense gives you and be patient.”

Lee finished last season with 1,011 passing and 724 rushing yards, leading the team in both categories. He also threw 11 touchdown passes and rushed for 11 TDs to produce 132 of the team’s 218 total points.

In the opening round of last year’s playoffs, Lee had a hand in all seven touchdowns the Jaguars scored in a 48-21 win over George Rogers Clark. He rushed for 147 yards and four touchdowns, threw a pair of scoring passes and returned an interception to the end zone.

Jeremiah Lee

“He’s a playmaker,” Borchers said after that game. “He’s a kid that anytime he touches the ball he can make a big play, whether it’s with his feet or his arm.”

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound junior said he wants to improve on reading defenses this season so can be even more effective running the spread offense with his quickness and speed.

“We’ve got a lot of guys back who are used to the offense and have a lot more confidence in the plays,” Lee said. “We don’t have to go through that learning curve this year, and I think that’ll help our team a lot.”

Of course, no one would be happier to see Lee making the right decisions at quarterback than coach Borchers.

“When you’re a kid like Jeremiah is and you’re as athletic as he is, sometimes you can pick up bad habits,” Borchers said. “He’s always so much quicker and the best athlete on the field.”

Lee was a slot receiver and defensive back for Cooper before shifting to quarterback in the sixth game of his freshman season. He may be too small to play quarterback in college, but his athletic ability should definitely take him to the next level.

“I feel like I can play anywhere, honestly,” Lee said. “Defense or offense, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to be able to get on the field.”

EDITORS NOTE: Clayton Castle also contributed to this story. 

2018 SEASON:  5-7 record, lost in second round of Class 6A playoffs.
DISTRICT:  Class 5A, District 5 with Boone County, Conner, Covington Catholic, Highlands.
HEAD COACH:  Randy Borchers (70-80 in 13 seasons overall, 63-66 in 11 seasons at Cooper).

Aug. 23 – DIXIE HEIGHTS, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 – at Newport Central Catholic, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 – RYLE, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 – CAMPBELL COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 – at Louisville DeSales, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27 – at Covington Catholic, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 – at George Rogers Clark, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 – at Conner, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 – BOONE COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 – HIGHLANDS, 7:30 p.m.

Other NKyTribune prep football previews:


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