The past two seasons for the Elk City Elks have been the most successful back to back years Elk City’s seen this millennium. The Brown and White have made the semifinals in both the past two seasons.
A huge part of that success has been the play of Senior Cooper Garabarino. Cooper and his family moved to Elk City in the summer of 2021, his Sophomore year. He quickly found ways to get on the field in both the secondary and wide receiver core. As a Junior his role increased tremendously, and he became a key cog on both sides of the ball.
Offensively Garabarino rushed for over 500 yards and scored 6 TDs. He also caught a TD pass. Defensively he had a pick, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble. Entering his Sr. season he’s excited about the work that was put in this summer. “We get in the weight room at 6AM. We lift then go through conditioning. Afterwards we go through OTA’s with our new offensive coordinator, Coach Josey.” Garabarino believes with Josey joining the offensive staff, the ball might be in the air more often. “It seems like we’re going to throw the ball a little more” Garabarino said with a wry smile that wasn’t made with complete confidence. I asked Cooper how he’s grown mentally and physically. Cooper said, “My sophomore year I weighed in at 165. I played at 175 as a Junior. I’m now over 200 pounds heading into my Senior year. It’s a big difference that mentally I’m ready to see what it feels like to be bigger, older, and playing longer than anyone else on the field.” I asked him how he’s seen himself become more of a leader throughout the summer, “Making sure people get to weights. Being a vocal leader in the weight room. Making sure we’re all on the same page, pulling in the same direction as a team.”
On the field this fall Garbarino expects to have a much larger role in the secondary, “I’m probably going to be the leader of the defense playing safety and being out there the longest. Getting people lined up will be a huge key.” Finally we talked about how the Elks can take that last step from being a semifinal team to playing for the gold ball, “We need to be together as a team and outhustle everyone. We might not be as good as everyone talent wise, but we just have to play harder than everyone else.” Cooper is visibly bigger heading into his Senior year, and he is excited about the prospects for his Senior season wearing the Brown and White of the Big Elks. The season gets started Week 0, August 25th in Altus against the Bulldogs.