Cavan Cooper
Derrick Webb

Derrick Webb

Derrick is SOSA's chief content coordinator and has worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, the Portsmouth Daily Times and Eleven Warriors. He's a 13-time award-winning journalist, a self-proclaimed baseball purist, a suffering Bengals fan and has never met a stranger.

Paint Valley’s Cavan Cooper hoping to lead Bearcats to “special” season

Cooper passed for 742 yards and rushed for 1,055 more last season.

Derrick Webb, Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Sports Authority is presented by OhioHealth.

BAINBRIDGE — If you ask Cavan Cooper what he sees when the football is in his hands, his answer is as simple as they come.

Paint Valley’s Cavan Cooper scored 26 touchdowns last season.

“I look for the best and fastest way to the end zone.”

And if you’ve watched him play over the past three seasons, you know he seems to find that route more often than not.

Paint Valley’s signal caller passed for 742 yards and rushed for another 1,055 while totaling 26 touchdowns last season — oh, and defensively, he made a conference-best 79 tackles.

Those numbers helped the Bearcats clinch the program’s fourth consecutive playoff appearance and 14th overall.

He was a second-team All-Ohioan, a first-team all-district selection and the Scioto Valley Conference Defensive Back of the Year. Cooper has started since his freshman year. And with each year of experience, his confidence grows.

“I would definitely say my confidence is an area that has grown since my freshman year,” Cooper said. “Gaining confidence has helped me make quicker and better decisions on the field.”

While he’s making those decisions at a moment’s notice, he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s able to come to those conclusions because of a talented offensive line in front of him.

A strong offensive line unit has always been a staple at Paint Valley. That hasn’t changed. But this year, Cooper thinks the guys in the trenches will be better than ever.

“The experience from our offensive line has improved tremendously since last year,” Cooper said. “They have been working hard in the weight room and they are huge. I also feel like we have a much different mentality going into this year compared to last year.”

There’s a good reason for that, too.

By all accounts, and by the Bearcats’ own admission, last fall was a bit of a letdown. After coming into the season expected to compete for a league title, PV finished 5-5 overall with losses to Piketon and Zane Trace in SVC play.

This fall, Cooper and company will once again enter the season with high expectations. And, make no mistake about it; last season’s finish will be fueling them to rise to the occasion.

“We, as a team, always have the expectation to win the league,” Cooper said. “We don’t take the expectations from the media as pressure. The team uses it as motivation to improve and become the team we know we can be.

“My biggest motivating factor is winning a golden football. The past few years, I feel like we’ve had it in reach. Then we have fallen just short. I really feel like we can do something special this year.”

Cooper, a senior, says this year’s team can “do something “special” because of how many weapons they possess on the offensive end.
CREDIT: Derrick Webb/SOSA

Cooper will have plenty of help around him to accomplish that goal.

The Bearcats will be welcoming back multiple starters while welcoming in a host of fresh faces and, if there’s anything sure in high school football, it’s that Paint Valley has talent coming up the football pipeline.

“It makes games very fun whenever you are surrounded by talent,” Cooper said. “We are big and fast, and I feel like we’ll be a hard team to plan for because we have so many weapons.”

PV will start its season on Aug. 19 at Blanchester before starting its home slate in Week 2 against West Jefferson.

Before then, Cooper and his teammates will continue to do all they can to prepare for what they hope to be a special year. If they can stay on the field and out of the training room — the injury bug has bitten the Bearcats before — Cooper believes there may be something special brewing in Bainbridge.

“We have to be able to stay away from injuries and if we can do that, I know we will succeed,” Cooper said. “The effort that we have been putting in during the offseason is going to pay off.”


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