BLOOMINGTON — In a game that featured nine plays of more than 30 yards, the Bloomington Purple Raiders got the last big play and the victory.
Kendrick Cooley’s 60-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Jake Romani with 24 seconds left gave the Purple Raiders a 55-50 victory over the Danville Vikings at Fred Carlton Field.
“There were a lot of big plays both ways,’’ Danville coach B.J. Luke said. “I’m proud of the way that our kids battled back, but we just couldn’t get a stop on that last series.’’
And it looked like the Vikings (0-1) had the Purple Raiders in deep trouble when sophomore LaTrey Reed sacked Romani on second down, driving Bloomington back to its 35 and forcing the Purple Raiders to call their final timeout.
On third down, Romani got a 6-yard completion Corree Harrell and with the clock ticking down to 30 seconds, Bloomington had a fourth down-and-15 from its 40.
Cooley, who also had a 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and a 47-yard touchdown run earlier in the game, slipped past Danville senior defensive back Chris Collier. Romani lofted the pass that Cooley caught at the 25, shrugged off a tackle attempt for Collier and sprint into the end zone.
“This is a terrible feeling,’’ said Collier, who had all four of Danville’s big plays in the contest. “I got caught in the backfield and my guy got past me. It shouldn’t have happened and I’m not going to let it happen ever again.’’
Bloomington’s final touchdown came just 1 minute, 34 seconds after Danville quarterback Trent Sherfield had given the Vikings 50-47 lead on a 2-yard touchdown run.
Sherfield, who rushed for 132 yards, had a 60-yard completion to Collier to set up the touchdown. Sherfield and Collier connected seven times for 251 yards, including touchdown passes of 80, 38, and 4.