When Lareland Cooper’s senior football season comes up, one play immediately springs to mind.
Cooper’s fumble recovery as time expired in a win over Union City clinched the Tri-Eastern Conference title for Northeastern, the first for the Knights.
But, Northeastern coach Mike Roeder is quick to stress that wasn’t the only play Cooper made for the Knights.
There is much evidence to back up Roeder’s sentiment. Cooper was a Region 8 all-star pick by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, a Class A all-state honorable mention selection and he’ll continue his football career at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind.
More proof? Cooper will play in the 2014 Grange Insurance All-Star Football Classic on July 18 at North Central High School in Indianapolis.
“I wasn’t really expecting it,” Cooper said. “It feels good. It’s always cool when you get individual recognition, but overall the season was pretty awesome, getting that first TEC championship. That was the biggest thing for me — being the first team to actually win the championship.”
Cooper is a member of the South All-Star team. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Jake Gilbert of Westfield is the head coach of the South team, while Tim Dawson of Concord leads the North unit.
“It doesn’t happen every year. When it does, it’s a nice honor,” Roeder said of Cooper’s selection.
Cooper was a big part of Northeastern’s gridiron success in this past fall season. He had 83 tackles and made nine sacks for the 9-3 Knights, who advanced to a Class A sectional final.
Cooper, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior, made the South All-Star squad as a defensive end.
“It’s going to be a really cool experience before I get to step up and go to the next level,” Cooper said. “I’m excited about it.”
Roeder praised Cooper for his growth as a player his senior season.
“This was by far his best year,” Roeder said. “He worked hard at trying to get there.
“He’s a big kid and he moves pretty good. When you have him on one side and somebody like J.J. Fleming on the other side, it causes problems. Lareland had the kind of year that kind of cemented his legacy in our minds, and we’ll always remember him, and, of course, for the one play. … People always said it was a big play, and it was, but Lareland was a great player all year.”