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Marshall's Kirk Cooper a Real Jewel

Prep football: Back runs for 314 yards and scores four times in 34-27 victory; penalty for illegal jewelry costs Kennedy.

September 20, 1997|MITCH POLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Kirk Cooper is only a sophomore, but the Marshall High running back played like an experienced veteran Friday against Granada Hills Kennedy.

Cooper broke loose for 314 yards and four touchdowns in only 15 carries as Marshall came from behind to defeat Kennedy, 34-27, in a nonleague game at Marshall.

It was a big win for Marshall (1-1), which was shut out, 36-0, in its opener last week against South Gate.

"Marshall found a way to get the job done, and they ran right through our defense," Kennedy Coach Bob Francola said. "We were outplayed and outcoached. The better team won today."

Kennedy (1-1) was leading, 27-21, early in the fourth quarter when Marshall drove 65 yards in four plays and scored the tying touchdown on Cooper's 16-yard run.

Kennedy came back and looked as if it was on its way to a go-ahead touchdown when, on fourth down at the Marshall five-yard line, wide receiver David Burney received a 15-yard penalty for wearing illegal jewelry.

Kennedy tried a 37-yard field goal on the ensuing play, but center Jaime Avina snapped the ball over kicker Ramiro Esqueda's head, and Marshall recovered with one minute left.

After a 54-yard run by Cooper gave the Barristers a first down on the Kennedy one-yard line, reserve quarterback Juan Barrera put Marshall ahead for good with a one-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds left.

Kennedy had one last gasp, but quarterback Ray Rodriguez's desperation pass was intercepted by Carlos Ceja at the Marshall 10 as time expired.

Kennedy running back Paul Jones ran for 192 yards and two touchdowns in 31 carries and caught three passes for 31 yards. The Golden Cougars outgained Marshall, 493-341, but were slowed by 111 yards in penalties.

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