Trojans score big in first win of Cooper era

Olympic lineman Joe Cox celebrates after scooping up a Shelton Highclimber fumble Saturday and running it in 20 yards for a touchdown during the Trojans 67-15 win. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Olympic lineman Joe Cox celebrates after scooping up a Shelton Highclimber fumble Saturday and running it in 20 yards for a touchdown during the Trojans 67-15 win.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

Joe Cox couldn’t believe his luck.

The Olympic lineman was about to drop on a fumbled ball knocked out of Shelton quarterback T.K. McIntosh’s hand by Trojan linebacker Robert Hodge when it bounced back off the hard Silverdale Stadium turf and into Cox’s hands.

The only thing in front of Cox? The endzone 20 yards away which he made a beeline for.

“I just saw the endzone,” said Cox, who had never put points on the scoreboard before. “It’s been my dream to make a touchdown. I thought I was going to jump on the ball, but it bounced up and I ran with it.”

It was a lucky day all around for the Trojans (1-1 Narrows League, 1-2 overall) as they upset the visiting Highclimbers (1-1 Narrows League, 1-2 overall) 67-15 to give coach Carlton Cooper his first win.

“That was fun,” Cooper said. “I expected we could move the ball but I didn’t expect that kind of success.”

Hodge kept the Highclimbers quarterbacks disrupted by making a trio of sacks that led to a pair of touchdowns.

“I was just looking for the ball and I took what I could get,” said Hodge, a 6-foot, 185-pound senior.

The home team got things going early as Andre Nelson returned the opening kick off 90 yards for a touchdown. It was the second time Nelson has returned the opening kick off for a TD this season.

“I was thinking about that touchdown against Battle Ground all the way down the field,” Nelson said.

His twin brother Jarrell wasn’t forgotten about either. Despite being singled out in the first quarter by the Shelton defense, he racked up 166 yards on 15 carries for a pair of touchdowns.

“They had shut me down early but then I just started finding holes,” Jarrell Nelson said.

After breaking the game open, Cooper said he started pulling his starters in the second half to let the junior varsity players get some playing time.

The understudies held their own against the Highclimbers, not allowing a score and racked up 26 of their own.

“It’s a lot of fun to get every kid in there, and when they got in they did fairly well,” Cooper said.

Sophomore defensive back Jeff Olson picked off McIntosh for a 70-yard touchdown while classmate Byron Mosely showed plenty of future hopes for the running game as he ran 42 yards untouched for a touchdown.

“That touchdown was unexpected,” Cooper said of Mosely. “We were just trying to run the clock out but Byron showed his talent and was able to to find enough holes to get into the endzone.”

“The JV guys kept scoring,” quarterback Justin Wisdom (2-for-3, 44 yards and a touchdown) said. “That kid (Mosely) just finds holes.”

Olympic spread the ball around by scoring running touchdowns by Jarrell Nelson (twice), Zach Curry and Mosely. Even Erik Koyanagi, at 5-4 the shortest Trojan on the field, was able to duck through the Shelton defense for a 4-yard touchdown run.

“He may be short in stature but he can run and he has a big heart,” Cooper said.

Cooper continued to mix up his quarterbacks, giving plenty of time to Wisdom and junior Jeff Shaw (2-for-3 for 46 yards and a touchdown.)

“It’s all what ‘Coop’ sees,” Wisdom said of the Cooper’s offensive plan. “What they give, we’ll take.”

The Trojans haven’t had a problem moving the ball offensively. It’s been their new 4-3 defense that has allowed opponents plenty of scoring chances. That didn’t happen Saturday.

“The kids played on both sides of the ball so that was encouraging to see,” Cooper said. “The emphasis on practice this week was on correcting things so we could stop people.”

“We knew the schemes were there,” Oly defensive coordinator Tim Allbee said. “And today they bought it. Our line stepped up and played exemplary. We shut down everything they could generate.

“Shelton’s a quick team and a strong team but our kids wanted to win.”

Andre Nelson credited the defense, which sacked the Highclimber quarterbacks six times, made a pair of interceptions and recovered four fumbles with making the team’s offense better.

“Our defense kept getting out offense the ball so we could score,” Nelson said.

“They killed us,” Shelton coach Matt Hinkle said. “That’s a credit to Olympic. They throttled us in every aspect of the game.”

The Trojans face a tough challenge at 7 p.m. Friday at Silverdale Stadium when they host the first-place South Kitsap Wolves (2-0 Narrows League, 3-0 overall.)

“We’ll step it up again,” Andre Nelson said. “We don’t need to get big-headed, we just need to play hard.”

Cooper acknowledged the team still has things to work on.

“But we’re closer to going in the right direction,” he said. “We’ll just play hard and see what happens.”

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