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Cooley’s 6 TDs spark Firebirds past Knights

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STANHOPE — Playing at home for the first time in almost a month, Southern Nash rode yet another big performance by senior Quinton Cooley to a 55-23 varsity football win against Northern Nash on Friday.

Cooley, among the national leaders in points scored and touchdowns, ran for six TDs and piled up 243 yards as the Firebirds, ranked seventh among state 3-A teams by The Associated Press, rolled to their seventh win without a loss and second against 3-A Big East Conference foes. 

The Knights (5-3, 1-1) hung tough in the first half, trailing just 20-17 when Jayden Freeman snared an 8-yard scoring pass from quarterback Kameron Johnson with 33 seconds to go in the second quarter.

However, the Firebirds delivered a big dose of Cooley in the second half and the Knights had no answer. Cooley, who peeled off a 56-yard scoring run on Southern Nash’s first possession of the game, scored four straight TDs in the second half. He put together twin 15-yard dashes to the end zone in the third quarter before scoring from 3 yards and then 43 yards in the fourth. He also had a 35-yard TD scamper in the second quarter.

Sophomore Jackson Vick sprinted 32 yards for Southern Nash’s final TD late in the fourth quarter. Senior Evan Barnes connected on seven of his eight extra-point attempts.

Firebirds senior quarterback Matt Foster was accurated on 5-of-7 tosses, including a 35-yard scoring strike to senior Izaiah Walker-Warren with 1:47 to go in the first quarter, snapping a 7-7 deadlock. Foster, who did not throw an interception, also rushed eight times for 26 yards while Vick totaled 77 yards. Walker-Warren finished with two catches for 41 yards.

The Firebirds will visit Hunt next Friday while the Knights head to Franklinton.

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