Coweta trio leads Lenoir-Rhyne to Division II title game
It may not be a trip to the Rose Bowl, but Coweta County is going to be well represented at a college football championship this year.
Chris Robinson, Jake Slagle and Jake Copeland, all of whom earned All-County honors at one point in their respective high school careers have helped lead Lenoir-Rhyne to Saturday’s NCAA Division II football championship game when the Bears (13-1) take on Northwest Missouri State (14-0) at noon at Braly Municipal Stadium on the campus of North Alabama in Florence.
The game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
It’s Lenoir-Rhyne’s first appearance in a Division II championship game. having won a NAIA title in 1960.
Robinson, Newnan High’s leading rusher during his junior and senior years on the Cougars’ varsity including 1,196 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2009, has become an important part of the No. 13-ranked Bears’ triple-option offense.
The junior running back has gained 290 yards and three touchdowns, one of which came in a 42-39 second-round win over No. 16 North Alabama (10-3). Robinson had a season-high 74 yards rushing on seven carries in a 42-14 blowout win in the semifinals over West Chester at home.
Robinson has also appeared on kickoff returns this year for the Bears, whose playoff run began with a 27-20 victory over 18th-ranked Carson Newman (10-3).
Slagle and Copeland, both of whom played at Northgate, have equally made as big a contribution to the program.
Much of Robinson’s rushing efforts has been done behind Slagle, a starting offensive lineman as a redshirt freshman.
Copeland, who was a three-year contributor for the Bears and part of the program’s 2011 South Atlantic Conference title winners, is a second-year grad assistant working with the defense.