Turns out Cooley had a big one in store Friday night at Hanover. He set a new District 3 single-game record during his team's 62-37 win against the Nighthawks. The Golden Knights senior rushed for 500 yards and eight touchdowns on 26 carries.
Cooley's incredible total also allowed him to pass former Littlestown standout Jeremiah Collins as the YAIAA's all-time leading rusher. Cooley came into the game needing 374 yards to match Collins and has now run for 4,559 yards during his career.
"I have to give the credit to my offensive line," Cooley said. "I have never had a game like this, and hopefully we have turned things around. We played like crap the first part of the year.
"The next thing is to come out next week and beat Littlestown."
Cooley also had a breakaway run late in the game when he chose to take a knee at the 50-yard line instead of scoring. It was one of the few times in the game his knee touched the ground.
It didn't take Cooley long to make his presence known. After being held to a paltry 7 yards on his first carry, he broke his second for 50 yards and the Knights' first touchdown with 10:57 remaining in the first quarter.
The Hawks were able to hold Cooley in check on the Knights' next possession and even stopped him short on fourth-and-8 at the Knights' 43-yard line.
Hanover then drove 43 yards in 13 plays to score on a 1-yard run by quarterback Brady Goodfellow. The Hawks completed the two-point conversion to take an 8-7 lead.
Cooley, however, was just getting started. He carried the ball four times for 50 yards on the next drive as the Knights went 65 yards for the go-ahead score. The last 33 yards Cooley got by breaking several tackles on his way to the end zone.
On Eastern's next possession, Cooley took the first-down hand-off 50 yards for a touchdown that gave Eastern a 21-8 lead.
The Knights tried to get the passing game going on their next possession, but after two incompletions, they faced third-and-10 from their own 48-yard line. Eastern went back to Cooley, who raced 52 yards to give the Knights a 28-8 edge.
Five of Cooley's touchdowns Friday came on runs of 42 yards or more. The senior now has 1,389 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. He's averaging 13 yards per carry.
"He is an incredible running back," Hanover coach Mike Ketterman said. "He's a heck of a physical specimen and a heck of a nice kid. Hats off to him. Our kids never gave up, even when we got down three scores. We are going to take our passing game as a positive out of this."
With Eastern stopping the running game on defense, Hanover was forced to go to the air. Down by 20 points, Goodfellow found wideout Ian Brown behind the Eastern defense and hit him with a 77-yard scoring strike to make it a 28-15 game.
Eastern also showed it could pass, as quarterback Thomas Taylor connected with Travis Solomon for a 45-yard score and a 35-14 Eastern lead.
Back came the Hawks as Goodfellow hit Brown for 45 yards and a Hawk score to make it 35-22.
"Hanover had really talented receivers," Eastern coach Richard Brubaker said. "We just couldn't get any separation. Every time we thought we had a good lead, they would come back and score."
Cooley made sure Hanover didn't get any closer. He added four more touchdowns in the second half on runs of 41, 1, 42 and 55 yards.
The game included an injury to Eastern York's Jon Witman Jr., who was taken to the hospital after he was treated for an undisclosed injury suffered on the final extra-point attempt.
Eastern 14 21 27 0 -- 62
Hanover 8 14 8 7 -- 37
EY -- Alex Cooley 50 run (Travis Solomon kick), 10:57.
Han -- Brady Goodfellow 1 run (Zac Sheaffer run), 3:12.
EY -- Cooley 33 run (Solomon kick), 0:24.
EY -- Cooley 50 run (Solomon kick), 10:19.
EY -- Cooley 52 run (Solomon kick), 7:02.
Han -- Ian Brown 77 pass from Goodfellow (Tyler Hahn kick), 6:33.
EY -- Solomon 45 pass from Thomas Taylor (Solomon kick), 3:29.
Han -- Brown 45 pass from Goodfellow (Hahn kick), 6:33.
EY -- Cooley 24 run (Solomon kick), 10:12.
EY -- Cooley 1 run (Solomon kick), 4:26.
Han -- Dylan Krieger 44 pass from Sheaffer (Brown run), 3:20.
EY -- Cooley 42 run (Solomon kick), 2:43.
EY -- Cooley 55 run (kick failed), 0:58.
Han -- Brown 3 run (Hahn kick), 4:03.
-- EY -- Han
First downs -- 20 -- 12
Rushes-yards -- 40-540 -- 28-28
Passing -- 5-10-0 -- 17-34-0
Passing yards -- 95 -- 309
Total yards -- 635 -- 337
Punts -- 1-48.0 -- 8-26.0
Fumbles-lost -- 1-1 -- 1-1
Penalties-yards -- 5-35 -- 2-20
Rushing -- Eastern York, Cooley 26-500, Clayton Miller 10-33, Taylor 3-6, Matt Locondro 1-6, David Livelsberger 1-1; Hanover, Spenser Durika 9-18, Brad Irvin 8-9, Ian Brown 2-6, Goodfellow 9-(-6).
Passing -- Eastern York, Taylor 5-10-0-95; Hanover, Goodfellow 15-25-0-255, Sheaffer 2-9-0-54.
Receiving -- Eastern York, Livelsberger 2-20, Solomon 1-45, Zach Fritz 1-16, Jake Wildasin 1-14; Hanover, Brown 7-149, Krieger 5-81, Jose Gonzalez 3-47, Durika 1-19, Juan Aguilar 1-13.