York, PA - Alex Cooley's last play on a high school football field was unlike any of the other 21 handoffs he took Saturday at York County Tech.
The result, though, was typical to most of them.
Cooley finished just 8 yards shy of his own state rushing record of 500 yards. He finished with 492 on 22 attempts, scoring 10 of Eastern York's 12 touchdowns for an 81-56 win that featured almost as many long scoring runs as successful tackles.
Eight of Cooley's touchdowns came via the rushing game. His last, with 11 minutes, 7 seconds left in the fourth quarter, mercifully ended the Golden Knights' barrage on the York Tech (2-8, 2-7 Division III) scoreboard. But not before breaking a tackle in the backfield near the Spartans' sideline, cutting left and back through a mass of bodies at midfield and darting to the end zone.
The play alone needed three broken tackles and left four Spartans on the ground, as the scoring binge came to an end.
"It actually upsets me a bit to see they put up 50 points," said Cooley, who accounted for 64 of Eastern's points and helped them finish 4-6, 4-5.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back finished with 547 yards of total offense, adding a 55-yard TD reception from Thomas Taylor in the first quarter. He also had a defensive touchdown, coming up with a Calvin Savary fumble at the Eastern 40 and outrunning the competition, as he did all day.
Eastern coach Richard Brubaker, unaware Cooley was again near the rushing record he set in a 62-37 win at Hanover in Week 5, said he was looking for a safe point to bring his seniors off the field. Throughout the game, when Eastern built a three-score lead, York Tech had an answer.
"They didn't want to come off the field, knowing this is their last game," said Brubaker, who finally felt at ease with a 31-point lead and a rare defensive stop, which came two plays after Cooley's last touchdown.
For the season, Cooley rushed for 2,830 yards and 38 touchdowns. His average yards per carry finished at 11.1.
"You know if you lay down your blocks, he'll do the rest," said senior center Trent Bartz, who was in tears afterward.
The final game was emotional for him because he said he did not think he would make it to this point as a 6 foot, 2 inch center who weighs only 170 pounds.
But with lineman such as Bartz, Cooley was not only able to defend his YAIAA rushing crown but obliterate last season's 1,950 yards, which earned him the top mark by just more than 300 yards. He entered Week 10 with almost 1,000 yards on the next-closest rusher, which was York Tech's Savary.
He finished with 171 yards, while Spartans quarterback Delmar Dickson gained 268 yards on the ground. York Tech had three 100-yard rushers and finished with 608 yards.
That was still overshadowed by Cooley, who was more concerned by that instead of his own play.
"We weren't wrapping up at all," Cooley said. "We haven't had a strong defense all year, but it got out of hand with missing tackles and all of that. But their quarterback is a heck of a player. So is their fullback."
The combination added up to a game that included 1,362 yards in total offense and 20 touchdowns.
Eastern York 26 22 26 7 -- 81
York County Tech 14 14 14 14 -- 56
EY -- Alex Cooley 65 run (Travis Soloman kick), 11:04
EY -- Cooley 79 run (kick failed), 7:30
YCT -- Stephaun Montouth 50 run (run failed), 7:20
EY -- Cooley 55 pass from Thomas Taylor (Soloman kick), 4:08
YCT -- Calvin Savary 54 run (Nashied Bones pass from Dalmar Dickson), 3:44
EY -- Jake Kessler 57 pass from Taylor (kick failed), 0:47
YCT -- Montouth 31 run (conversion failed), 11:50
EY -- Cooley 27 run (Cooley run), 10:28
EY -- Cooley 68 run (Cooley run), 5:07
YCT -- Dickson 45 run (Savary pass from Dickson), 1:58
EY -- Cooley 56 run (conversion failed), 1:35
EY -- Cooley 27 run (Soloman kick), 11:09
EY -- Taylor 5 run (Soloman kick), 7:25
YCT -- Dickson 68 run (Kyle Snyder pass from Dickson), 6:49
EY -- Cooley 60 fumble return (kick failed), 3:04
YCT -- Savary 57 run (pass failed), 0:34
EY -- Cooley 68 run (kick failed), 0:15
YCT -- Dickson 59 run (Judonn Mitchell run), 11:31
EY -- Cooley 62 run (Soloman kick), 11:07
YCT -- Dickson 54 run (run failed), 6:35
-- EY -- YCT
First downs -- 20 -- 22
Rushes-yards -- 44-519 -- 59-608
Passing -- 5-12-1 -- 1-4-0
Passing yards -- 209 -- 26
Total yards -- 728 -- 634
Fumbles-lost -- 1-0 -- 5-3
Penalties-yards -- 7-55 -- 8-51
Rushing -- EY, Cooley 22-492, Clayton Miller 6-16, David Livelsberger 5-11, Matt Locondro 3-12, Taylor 3-(-)1, Matt Leiphart 3-(-)4, Sean Saylor 1-3; YCT, Dickson 23-268, Savary 16-171, Montouth 6-113, Bones 9-35, Justin Delgado 3-15, Mitchell 1-5, Austin Wertz 1-1.
Passing -- EY, Taylor 4-10-1-171, Jake Wildasin 1-1-0-38, Saylor 0-1-0-0; YCT, Dickson 1-4-0-26.
Receiving -- EY, Christian Buser 2-69, Kessler 1-57, Cooley 1-55, Wildasin 1-21; YCT, Bones 1-26.