“We play video games like NCAA Football or Call of Duty, and we take it to each other,” Cook said. “Joe beat me the first time we played football, but we’ve gone back and forth ever since.”
What might separate Cook and Yearby from any other duo is their versatility. Both have sacrificed carries this season to help a less-experienced Central team at other positions. Yearby has played quarterback, something he did often during his Optimist football days at Gwen Cherry Park, and given Central a dual threat with both he and Cook running halfback options. He has also chipped in for the Rockets defensively in the secondary.
Cook has started most of the season at the safety position and come up with some game-changing plays. He returned an interception for a touchdown against Booker T. Washington that started a 16-point comeback and dealt the eventual Class 4A state champs their only loss of the season.
In a district-clinching win against rival Northwestern, Cook returned a fumble 88 yards for a touchdown that rallied Central from an 11-point deficit. Last week in the state semifinals, Cook scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) to lead Central’s 17-point comeback to beat Naples 48-33 on the road.
Cook, one of seven siblings, was raised by his grandmother and developed his skills playing at Scott Lake Park. Many thought when he was in middle school that Cook would attend nearby Norland High. But Cook went to Central, where his family either ran track or played football.
Cook is now part of the greatest football era in the school’s history. And he and Yearby hope to add another milestone Saturday.
“It’s a blessing to be compared to guys like the Davis brothers,” Cook said. “But me and Joe want to leave our own legacy here before we go.”