It was more than just about football Friday night for the Fife High Trojans.
It was about honoring their late assistant coach C.J. Cooper, who died unexpectedly last weekend at his home.
So the grandstands for the Trojans’ home game were packed, and coach Kent Nevin and his staff wore Hawaiian shirts and knee-high socks on the sideline — just like Cooper did for every home opener since 1985.
Fife got a victory, too — 41-8 over Evergreen of Seattle.
“He loved this place,” Nevin said. “All week, we were in a fog. We were just expecting him to be there.”
Cooper missed the Trojans’ season-opener at Shadle Park last weekend. Nevin found out that his running backs coach had died.
Fife canceled practice Monday, instead meeting in the library to talk about losing a beloved coach.
Because Cooper was in charge of charting the players’ conditioning, players asked for extra weightlifting and running late this week, just to honor him.
“I think our players responded beautifully,” Nevin said. “We did not play our best game, but we never stopped. We did not want to let Coop down.”
Weaver blocked a Mathew Philichi field goal attempt midway through the first quarter and returned it 78 yards for a touchdown, and that was the game-winning score for the No. 8 Bullpups in Spokane.
Jefferson took a 7-0 lead on Mason De La Cruz’s 15-yard scoring pass to Kenneth Turner in the first quarter before the Eagles’ explosion.
Lakiem Williams’ 39-yard touchdown scamper closed the deficit to 31-29 for the Sentinels with 7:23 to go, but the Tigers went 85 yards on their next drive, eating up 2:34. Talkington finished it off with a 5-yard scoring toss to Waters.
Caleb Browning’s 61-yard punt return for a touchdown gave Union a 24-0 lead late in the third quarter.
Scarpaci had two more interceptions Friday — the last one with 0.5 seconds remaining in the first half that set up Julius Yates-Brown’s 52-yard touchdown pass to AJ Ruffin on the final play in a victory at Stadium Bowl.
Major Ali paced the attack with 163 rushing yards on 25 carries — with 155 coming in the first half. His 2-yard touchdown run with one minute to go in the first half gave Peninsula a 17-0 lead.
Running back Adrian Valona scored three touchdowns as well. Gig Harbor has scored 72 unanswered points in the past three halves of football, including the last 20 in its crazy 30-29 Fish Bowl victory a week ago.
After older brother Tristan led Sumner with 12 touchdown receptions last season, Connor — one of the new starting running backs at Sumner — tallied his first four career rushing scores as the Spartans won a cakewalk at Sunset Chev Stadium.