It's SPC Championship Weekend, as private schools from across Texas and Oklahoma put a bow on their seasons.
The John Cooper School football team returns for its second Class 3A championship game in as many years. The Dragons fell to Fort Worth Country Day in last year's title match-up 55-41 and earlier this season 27-7. John Cooper has redemption on its mind.
The game will be held at Houston's Butler Stadium at 2 pm on Saturday. With a win, John Cooper would capture its first SPC football title in school history.
5 REASONS WHY JOHN COOPER WINS…
1. THE DEHAVEN FACTOR
After coming over from St. Pius X where he had tremendous success, first-year head coach Erik Dehaven has had a successful season going 8-2. With a full 10 games under their belts, Dehaven and his squad are more in-sync than at the beginning of the season. The FWCD contest was game No. 3 in the Dehaven-era.
2. BEEN-THERE, DONE-THAT
The John Cooper School has only been playing football for eight years. Last year was their first time advancing to "The Show." Now that they have that year of experience of being in the championship game, the lights won't be as bright. Translation from coaches' speak... John Cooper will be more ready for the "Big Stage" the second time around.
3. BALL SECURITY
In John Cooper's first game against FWCD, the Dragons turned the ball over four times in the 27-7 loss. In the final four games of the 2019 season to date, John Cooper has turned the ball over a total of… four times.
4. RETURN OF THE REEDS
The injury bug bit the Dragons the first time around against FWCD. Stars Cameron Reed and Gamble Reed did not play due to injuries. Cameron (Washington and Lee-commit) stands 6-foot, 200-pounds and is a monster on defense. He can run the ball in short yardage situations as well. Gamble is a starting defensive end. Having them back is huge.
5. POUND THE ROCK
Coach Dehaven found the strength of his offense during the season -- it's running the ball. In the Dragon's first five games, JCS had 112 yards rushing. Over the past four games, the team has rushed for 305 yards. With a successful running attack, the game slows down. Move the chains, move the clock.
PREDICTION -- Cooper makes history in 24-21 win
THE GALLERY by Bradley Collier
The John Cooper School will get its shot at redemption.
With a 41-7 victory over The Austin Saints on Friday, the Dragons punched their ticket to next week's SPC 3A Championship game , which sets up a rematch of the 2018 title game.
"I am very proud of our young men trusting in a new staff, and believing in one another," John Cooper School first-year coach Erik DeHaven said. "This was a goal of ours at the beginning of the year and we are not done yet. We will attack this week just like we have the past and take it one play at a time."
The @JCS_Football team clinched a spot in the SPC Championship game with a 41-7 victory over The Austin Saints. JCS will take on @fwcd_athletics on 11/9 in a rematch of the 2018 Championship. @ConroeSports @Sideline_Club @DuncanBoone_1 @vypehouston @LSCSN @WOLsports @spcsports pic.twitter.com/YzN5Zv2Uj6
— Cooper Athletics (@JCS_Athletics) November 2, 2019
Last season, John Cooper posted a perfect regular season mark heading into the title game. The Dragons in the end couldn't complete the perfect season, falling to Fort Worth Country Day. It marked FWCD's second title in three years.
The 14-point loss stuck with the returning players, who will now get their shot to bring home the program's first-ever SPC Championship.