It’s only appropriate Rider’s biggest game of the season is set for the first day of 2021. The Raiders meet district rival Lubbock-Cooper in a Class 5A Division II quarterfinal match up at 5 p.m. Friday at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo.
The Rider (Wichita Falls, TX) varsity football team has a neutral playoff game vs. Cooper (Lubbock, TX) today @ 5pm at Dick Bivins Stadium. This game is a part of the “2020 Football State Championships – 2020 Football Conference 5A D2 ” tournament.
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It’s the sixth meeting between the Raiders and Pirates in the past three seasons and third consecutive Region I-5A Division II title matchup featuring the two foes. Cooper has won five of the six meetings. Its lone loss in the series was in the 2018 state quarterfinals at Abilene Christian’s Anthony Field.
This game was originally intended to be played at Anthony Field on New Year’s Eve, but the threat of inclement weather changed those plans, moving the game to Amarillo.
Rider isn’t needing more motivation than a desire to advance to the state semifinals for the third time in program history. But the fact Cooper upset the Raiders, 25-24, rallying from a 24-7 deficit, earning the District 3-5A Division II title can’t be too far from the front of Rider’s mind.
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Rider will unleash one weapon it kept in reserve in November.
Senior quarterback Jacob Rodriguez had just 41 carries for 235 yards and three TDs entering last week’s matchup with Canyon Randall. Most of those runs were unscripted scrambles as Rider chose to protect their signal-caller.
He was unleashed against Randall, rushing for 126 yards and two TDs on 11 carries. Rider called scripted runs for Rodriguez for the first time since a Week 2 matchup against Frisco Independence.
RIDER VS. LUBBOCK-COOPER
When/where: 4 p.m. Friday, Dick Bivins Stadium, Amarillo
Records: Rider 10-2, Cooper 11-1.
Last game: Rider 28, Canyon Randall 7; Cooper 22, Grapevine 19
Last meeting: Cooper 25, Rider 24 (Nov. 27). Cooper leads all-time series 4-1.
Players to watch: Rider, Jacob Rodriguez (QB, Sr.), Nick Darcus (WR/KR, Sr.), E’Maurion Banks (DL, Sr.), Ranse Radtke (WR/DB, Sr.), Luke Gambs (DL, So.); Cooper, Kobie McKinzie (LB, Jr.), Cooper LaFebre (QB, Sr.), Rylan Wilcox (WR/DB, Sr.), Ben Marcinkowski (TE, Sr.), Garison Smitherman (LB, Sr.).