PORTLAND — As he paced the sidelines during the Class A state championship game Saturday afternoon, former Lawrence coach Pete Cooper was nervous. He knew his son Kevin — the longtime head coach at Bonny Eagle — would not have a stomach tied in knots.

As proof, Cooper recalled the 1984 state championship game, in which he coached Lawrence to the title with Kevin at quarterback. Before that game, Cooper’s wife, Lois, was nervous. She was approached by John Wolfgram, then the head coach at Gardiner.

“He said to my wife, ‘Don’t worry. Kevin won’t let you lose this game,'” Cooper recalled.

More than 30 years later, Kevin Cooper still refuses to lose state championship games. After winning two titles as a player at Lawrence, Kevin Cooper won his sixth state championship as a head coach with a 34-14 victory over Portland. Cooper is 8-0 in championship games.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to coach a lot of great kids. They’ve never hesitated to give me what I asked. That’s why we’re here today. We’ll try to go for number seven next year,” Cooper said.

Cooper coached Bonny Eagle to back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005 and then won two more Gold Balls in 2007 and 2008. The Scots won the title again in 2013.

John Suttie was a teammate of Cooper’s at Lawrence and is also a former member of the Bonny Eagle coaching staff. Suttie said his lifelong friend has always had the ability to stay cool in pressure situations.

“He was a typical coach’s kid. He was special that way. He always stayed calm under pressure. He was a tough guy; he’s still a tough guy. A good leader, very even. You never see Kevin get too high or too low. If you see him the rest of the day, you’ll never know he just won his sixth state championship as a coach,” Suttie said. “It comes second nature. It’s almost normal for him now. It’s been fun to be a part of it as a teammate, as a guy on his coaching staff, and as his friend.”

Cooper said he doesn’t get nervous before or during any game.

“I got asked last night, ‘was I nervous?’ You know, I’m not nervous, just excited to be here,” Cooper said. “We really trusted our guys. When you have that much faith in a group of young men, why be nervous? Why worry? Put yourself in their hands and let them go and make plays.”

Suttie said he knew shortly before kickoff, his friend was calm and cool. As he waited for Bonny Eagle and Portland to take the field for pregame introductions, Suttie checked his phone and noticed Cooper had just liked something Suttie had tweeted.

“I looked at my phone, he liked the tweet. I looked up, it was six minutes before the game and he was in the locker room screwing around on his phone,” Suttie said.

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