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Local football stars Tristan Cooper and Steven Montez meet in Pac-12 battle

A pair of former high school standouts from El Paso will meet on the gridiron Friday night in a Pac-12 battle in Tucson.

Tristan Cooper of Andress, now a hard-hitting defensive back for Arizona, will try to help his Wildcats slow down former Del Valle quarterback Steven Montez and his Colorado Buffaloes.

Cooper says he played against Montez once when Cooper was just a sophomore. Del Valle won that meeting, and Cooper gained a lot of respect for the Del Valle star quarterback.

“He ran the ball on us. That’s what he did,” said Cooper remembering their 2013 clash. “You know, he’s a great quarterback. The dude is 6’5″ now, 230 (pounds). He can run, he can throw, has a strong arm. Being able also to play against another guy from El Paso is also going to be very exciting.”

Montez, on the other hand, is looking to help Colorado return to its winning ways. The Buffaloes won their first five games of the season this year only to lose their past three – including one in overtime this weekend against a 2-6 Oregon State team.

“You’ve kind of got to have a little chip on your shoulder,” said Montez. “You’ve got to be hungry. And I think that our guys have that, and we’re doing a good job just keeping that attitude around the entire team.”

Cooper enters their matchup with 21 total tackles this season and four passes defended. Montez has racked up 2,053 yards passing to go along with 14 passing scores and four picks.

Colorado is 5-3 overall with a 2-3 mark in conference play. Arizona is 4-5 on the season with a 3-3 record in league action. Five out of the six teams in the Pac-12 South currently have exactly three conference losses. Utah leads the division right now with a 4-2 record in conference games.

You can watch the two local stars beginning at 8:30 p.m. MT this Friday on FS1.

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