TULSA — Rashaad Copeland expected the worst coming in to Friday night's Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State football game.
“I thought I was going to be horrible,” El Reno's Copeland said. “I was nervous. It was my first time in a game like this.”
But Copeland had a pair of first-half interceptions to help the West jump out to a big lead and hold on for a 33-19 win at Union Tuttle Stadium.
“It was exciting to be able to do something like that,” Copeland said.
Copeland first intercepted McAlester quarterback Tony Kiefer midway through the first quarter.
“I thought he was about to take it down and run it but he faked it and I was able to grab it,” Copeland said.
The second came on Metro Christian's Andrew Hearon in the second quarter when Copeland spun around and the ball landed in his hands.
Even with his electrifying defensive performance, Copeland hopes his future doesn't lie on defense.
He had 64 tackles for the Indians last season but was more of a threat on offense, where he had 640 yards and 7 touchdowns at receiver.
Copeland will head to Southwestern Oklahoma State in two weeks, and one of the big draws to the school was that SWOSU recruited Copeland to play receiver.
“My heart is on offense,” Copeland said. “That's where I really want to be.”
Copeland wasn't the only West player coming up big on defense Friday night.
On the game's very first drive, Edmond Santa Fe's Josh Crouch picked off Kiefer and returned it more than 30 yards to give the West the ball inside the 10.
Three plays later, Yukon's Corben Jones took it in for a 1-yard touchdown run.
“Our defense did what they needed to do the whole game to keep us in it,” Jones said.
The West built a 26-7 lead at halftime before rules meant to curtail blowouts helped the East climb back in.
The East received to start the second half and after their own fourth-quarter field goal and pulled within a score, 26-19, when Catoosa's Cole Scheulen scored with 1:31 left.
But the East couldn't recover an onside kick try and Putnam City's Casey Curtis ran for his second touchdown of the night to secure the West win in the final seconds.