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Whitfield breaks Abilene Cooper record, earns KTXS/ATFCU Player of the Week

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ABILENE, Texas - The best players seem to shine brightest on the biggest stage.

It's hard to get much bigger than the Crosstown Showdown between Abilene Cooper and Abilene High -- and Cooper running back Tyrees Whitfield starred with seven touchdowns to earn the KTXS/Abilene Teachers Federal Credit Union Player of the Week.

Whitfield said he felt he had the potential to play a big role in the game, but "I didn't know I was going to have a huge game like that." He set a new school-record with the seven touchdowns, and led the Cougars to a 49-35 win over Abilene High.

"It feels wonderful," said the senior on beating his friends and rivals for the first time since 2013. "Now I have the bragging rights for the rest of my life."

Whitfield carried the ball 29 times for 259 yards and six scores, and was aided all game by great blocking by his offensive line.

"They were pretty dominant that night. That was probably one of the best nights they've had. The holes were coming fast and they would open and they wouldn't close. They would stay open."

The line, consisting of returning starters Josh Elliott and Thomas Squyres, and newcomers RIcardo Rios, Gage McVey, Tim Balderas, Justin Smith and Mateo Valero, was a question mark coming into the season, but has grown together quickly.

"I think they all like each other. I think that makes a big difference," head coach Todd Moebes said. "They want to be successful for the guy next to them. They've got great chemistry."

Leading up to the game, Whitfield was inspired by former Abilene High running back Abram Smith, who scored seven rushing touchdowns against Cooper in the 2016 meeting.

"The whole week I was really thinking about Abram because coach brought him up," said Whitfield, who also caught three passes for 73 yards and the game's first touchdown. "I was like, 'I've got to match him.' Coach didn't let me beat him, but that's alright."

The win over Abilene High improved Cooper's record to 3-0 for the first time since 2010 when the Cougars won their first nine games of the season.

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