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Rivals in the making
Rider meets Lubbock Cooper in annual district game
October 15, 2021
For years, Rider versus Old High has been Wichita Falls’ biggest high school rivalry. There is one other opponent on the field, however, that challenges our colors of black and gold the most.
Lubbock Cooper has been one of Rider’s most formidable adversaries since their first district meeting in 2018. This year, they boast a 1-0 district record and both have a top 10 state ranking. This is no surprise, as their D1 defense remains consistent.
“We’ve played those guys a lot over the last few years,” head football coach Marc Bindel said. “They’re a good team, they’ve got good coaches that we’ve kind of gotten to know and spend a lot of time with. They coach their kids well, they do things the right way.”
What began with a defeat in district sparked a brand new rivalry when Rider came back to beat an unbeaten Cooper in the playoffs that same year.
“To come back in the playoffs and beat them, that was an upset,” Bindel said. “They were better than us and we upset them. That was when Jacob Rodriguez had a ridiculous game. Really from that point forward, they kind of beat us the first time and we beat them the second time to win the region. Since then, the games have been awesome.”
Cooper got the better of Rider in both 2019 matchups by double digits and the Pirates rallied for a 25-24 win in last year’s district game. However, it was the Raiders who won last year’s state quarterfinal with a 21-13 decision.
While Rider got the upper hand in the game that mattered the most, memories of last year’s district loss has served as one of the team’s biggest motivations for success against Cooper this season.
“We won’t take any games for granted and play all four quarters as hard as we can,” senior defensive back Keiran Shaw said. “We’ve been going at it, and we want to prove to them that we can beat them. We’re ready to go show them what we’re about.”
In this year’s playoffs schedule, it won’t surprise anyone if these two teams collide on the field later this season. The winner of Friday’s 8 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium will take a more difficult path through the playoffs, likely facing Grapevine if both teams make it to the third round.
Nonetheless, the Raiders are excited to introduce Cooper to their young team, challenging them to put a stop to Rider’s string of victories.
“Every year, it’s always a big game,” junior defensive lineman Luke Gambs said. “Our fans are always crazy during those games and I think it’s just the competition that entices me. We have a younger team, so a lot of them haven’t actually been able to play in this game. For them, I think it will be about proving themselves too.
“Cooper doesn’t know who a lot of our guys are, but if they pull up and show out, they could impress a lot of people.”