The John Cooper School Varsity Football Team 2018 Season Preview

By: Lynn Boeding, The John Cooper School Athletics
| Published 09/20/2018

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"Cooper football is no longer a “young” program. This is year eight. The players are much more familiar with the game and the expectations than they were just two to three years ago. After competing in SPC 3A now for two seasons, I have seen tremendous growth in the football program. The boys know what is expected of them now. We were in all but one conference game last season. I am expecting us to not just be in conference games this season but to win many of them, if not all. They expect to win. I am very proud of the work these boys have put in. It’s going to be a great season. Go Dragons!”
–Coach Brent Landrum

Background The John Cooper School begins its eighth season of football and seventh season of high school football this season. This year marks the sixth season Cooper will have a varsity football team.

Cooper has been a member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference (SPC) since the 2004-2005 school year. With the formation of the SPC 3A division for football only, The John Cooper School varsity team will be competing for a SPC 3A championship for the third season along with conference foes Arlington Oakridge, Irving Cistercian, Ft. Worth Country Day, Ft. Worth Trinity Valley, and Oklahoma City Casady. Austin St. Andrew’s and Austin St. Stephen’s Episcopal have combined to form one team called the Austin Saints. This gives Cooper six conference games and three non-conference games.

Schedule The varsity team is prepared for a challenging schedule. The varsity team will scrimmage Ft. Bend Christian on Friday August 17th at Cooper. Cooper will travel to Second Baptist for a second scrimmage on August 24th. Home games will be against Frassati Catholic, Bay Area Christian, Fort Worth Country Day, Arlington Oakridge, and the Austin Saints. Away games will be against Magnolia Legacy Prep, Irving Cistercian, and Fort Worth Trinity Valley.

Cooper will play one neutral site game vs. Oklahoma City Casady School at Apogee Stadium on the campus of University of North Texas. The game is set for October 12.

The 2017 team finished the season with a 4-5 record, the best in the school’s short football history. They won both non-conference games and they finished 2-5 in SPC 3A play. Close SPC 3A losses kept Cooper from having their first winning season in school history.

The Team Varsity returns 16 of 25 lettermen from last year’s 4-5 team. After graduating nine seniors, Cooper looks to an impressive group of eight seniors to lead the team. All eight seniors have at least one varsity letter. Seven of the eight seniors have earned at least three varsity football letters. The one that hasn’t was due to injury. This is an experienced and talented senior class.

Defense The team will be led on defense by senior captain and linebacker Matt Krehbiel (6’0” and 210 lbs.). Krehbiel led the team in tackles last year (62). He has been named to the Houston Touchdown Club Private School Preseason Team of the Year as well as the Vype Houston-area preseason football team as an athlete for his abilities on both sided of the ball.

Other linebackers will be junior Cameron Reed (6’0” and 230 lbs.), sophomore Jake Peterson (6’2” and 190 lbs.), and senior Rob DeLoit (5’11 and 165 lbs.). DeLoit will also play safety. Freshman Blake Pitts (5’9’ and 160 lbs.) will be in the mix, and possibly start, at outside linebacker.

Senior captain defensive end Gerald (Tre’) Leon Caraway III (5’11” 275) will anchor the line. He’ll be joined by a host of solid defensive lineman including senior Banner Chapman (6’2” and 225 lbs.), junior Joe Wilkins (6’2” and 205 lbs.), junior Kase Harris (6’3” and 285 lbs.), junior Kyle Dowd (5’11” and 200 lbs.), and sophomore Will Corson (5’11” and 230 lbs.).

The secondary will be manned by senior safety and captain Logan Leax (6’1” and 170 lbs.). Leax is a talented ball hawk. Leax was All-SPC last season at safety and WR and he has been named to the Vype preseason team at safety. Starting cornerbacks will be juniors Thomas Elkhoury (5’10” and 155 lbs.) and Parker Edwards (5’9” and 145 lbs.). The other safety will be sophomore Ben Deloit (5’7” and 145 lbs.).

Junior transfer James Araya will add some defensive depth at outside linebacker. Araya, whose brother already attended Cooper, is transferring from The Woodlands College Park High School.

Offense Senior Evan Minarovic (5’11”, 165) returns as starter for the third straight season to run the Dragons spread attack at QB. Minarovic brings a dual threat dimension to the offense that has produced great numbers the past two seasons. His elusiveness plus accuracy and arm strength make him a threat to all defenses. Minarovic has passed for 4,604 yards in his career while throwing 36 TD passes. He has rushed for 422 yards and 13 TD’s in his career. Minarovic has been named to the Houston Touchdown Club’s private school preseason team at QB.

Junior Cameron Reed will back up Minarovic at QB. Senior Jude Bugenhagen, former kicker, will be the team’s third string QB.

The Dragons have the most depth and experience at receiver. Leax returns to the Z receiver spot for the fourth straight season. Leax is the school’s all-time leading receiver. In his career he has caught 104 balls for 1,411 yards and 13 TD’s. In 2017 he caught 52 passes for 772 yards

and 6 TD’s. He was named second team receiver on the Conroe Courier All-Montgomery County postseason football team.

Krehbiel returns to the Y receiver position where he will share duties with Peterson and freshman Will Young (5’10” and 150 lbs.). Elkhoury will man the H receiver spot. His hands and speed combined with shiftiness make him the ideal slot receiver. Last season Elkhoury caught 54 balls for 701 yards and 6 TD’s.

The biggest addition to the receiving unit is senior Daniel Gerber (6’3” and 190 lbs.). Gerber started at linebacker as a freshman. He was injured during the second game of his sophomore season and hasn’t played since. He is healthy and ready to contribute. He will start at the X receiver position.

Cooper will count on sophomore Ben DeLoit to be the main running back. Reed and Peterson will add big back depth as well as Araya for more speed. This is as talented of a running back unit as we’ve had at Cooper. Ben Deloit brings an element of speed, hands, and blocking ability that we have not seen in the past.

The fullback position will be manned by Krehbiel.

The offensive line returns only two starters but it will be a strength for the team. Seniors Caraway (right guard) and Chapman (left tackle) return to anchor the line. Junior Kase Harris (6’3” and 285 lbs.) will start at left guard and is garnering interest from some Ivy League schools. Junior Kyle Dowd (5’11” and 200 lbs.) will be the starting center. Dowd is very consistent. The newcomer to the offensive line is former running back, Joe Wilkins (6’2” and 205 lbs.). Wilkins will be the starting right tackle.

Araya, Minarovic, and Young will handle the punting and kicking duties.

Coaching Staff Brent Landrum returns for season eight as the head of the Cooper football program. His career varsity football record is 15-33 overall and 4-11 in SPC 3A play.

Cooper returns Josh Childers as Defensive Coordinator. This is Childers fourth year at Cooper and second as DC. He coaches varsity linebackers as well as coordinating the defense. Childers will stick with the 3-4 defense that worked so well last season.

Head Coach Brent Landrum
blandrum@johncooper.org
Tel. 281-367-0900, ext. 2450
Cell 713-703-1654

For more information contact:

Lynn Boeding, Sports Communications

lboeding@johncooper.org • 281-367-0900 ext. 2455 • Cell: 281.748.1447

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