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Cooper Spurs El Camino Real, 21-17


Michael Cooper caught a controversial touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to lead El Camino Real High to a 21-17 victory over host Chaminade in a nonleague opener Friday night.

Cooper grabbed a 22-yard scoring toss from Ryan Venturine in the back corner of the end zone with 1 minute 10 seconds to play. The referees conferred for roughly 30 seconds before signaling that Cooper had caught the ball in bounds.

"I felt as if I was in bounds," Cooper said. "I concentrated on catching the ball and I tried my best to keep my feet in.

"The referee on my side wasn't sure if I caught it. Then I saw the ref from the other side of the field come over and he said I got my feet in, and the next thing I know we won the game."

Cooper set up the winning score by intercepting a pass in the left flat at the Chaminade 45-yard line and returning it to the Eagle nine-yard line.

"I was surprised they threw it because they had a three-point lead and they didn't need to throw," Cooper said.

After El Camino Real took over at the Eagle nine-yard line, two runs by Chris Shinnick gained no yards and a holding penalty moved the ball back to the 22-yard line. Venturine then found Cooper on a third-down play.

Chaminade running back Franklin Saunders gave the Eagles a 17-14 lead with a 36-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter.

Saunders rushed for 71 yards in 20 carries with one touchdown and a fumble.

Shinnick ran for a game-high 89 yards in 22 carries and scored a touchdown.

Paul Van Acker's 32-yard field goal gave Chaminade a 3-0 lead in the second quarter. Saunders extended the Eagle lead to 10-0 with a two-yard scoring run later in the quarter.

El Camino Real's Shinnick pulled the Conquistadores to within 10-7 with an 11-yard scoring run with 2:13 to play in the first half. Shinnick rushed for 47 yards in 11 carries in the first half. Chaminade quarterback Clint Tanner was quietly effective in the first half, completing six of seven passes for 72 yards.

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