Copper achieves long-time goal
By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
The path leading up to J.G. “Choppy” Wagner Stadium is partially lined with bricks honoring former Washington High School greats.
At one point during Terrance Copper’s illustrious high school career, he told a Pam Pack teammate that he, one day, wanted to have his name on one of those bricks. It comes true Friday night when Copper will be one of four new inductees into Washington’s prestigious Walk of Fame.
The new inductees will be announced during Washington’s game against South Central.
Copper, who went on to have a standout career at East Carolina University and is now a wide receiver with the New Orleans Saints, established school records with the Pam Pack.
The 2000 graduate, who wore No. 7 during his high school playing days, is the school’s career-leader in receptions (159) and receiving yards (2,826). He finished with 27 touchdowns.
Copper, a three-time all-conference and all-area selection, set season records with 55 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in 1997.
He had 25 catches for 402 yards and three scores as a freshman, 55 grabs for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, 38 snags for 683 yards and seven TDs in his junior season and 41 receptions for 741 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior.
He earned honorable mention All-America honors from USA Today. Copper was also selected to play in the Shrine Bowl and East/West All-Star game his senior season.
The Pam Pack had a winning season in each of Copper’s four years, as he helped Washington go 35-14 overall. The team went 11-2 in 1999, 8-4 in 1998, 9-3 in 1997 and 7-5 in 1996.
Copper helped lead the Pam Pack to a 51-7 victory over Eden Morehead in the first round of the state playoffs in 1999, which is the last time Washington has won a playoff game.
The star receiver helped lead Washington to four victories over Northside during their Anchor Bowl rivalry. He had a 49-yard touchdown run in Washington’s 20-6 win in 1999, a 25-yard touchdown reception in a 32-7 victory in 1998 and scoring receptions of 29 and 18 yards in a 53-0 romp in 1997. Copper hauled in an Anchor Bowl record-tying nine receptions in the 1997 game. He was a freshman on Washington’s 20-6 nod in 1996.
It wasn’t the touchdowns or key receptions Copper remembers most about his prep playing days. It’s the quality time he spent with his teammates.
Copper will have family members in attendance, including his mother, Cassandra Arnold, wife, Kandy, son Terrance Jr., and daughter, Taniya.
He’s looking forward to attending his first Pam Pack game in two years.
Copper certainly left his mark when he was on the field for the Pam Pack. While he’s a gifted athlete, Copper said it took more than that to accomplish the goals he wanted to achieve.
Copper went on to have a stellar career with the East Carolina Pirates, where he continued to wear No. 7 and was voted as a captain his senior season. He finished his college career with 139 receptions and 1,683 yards. The reception total is third best all-time by a Pirates’ receiver, while the yardage total is fifth best.
Copper, who had a catch in 19 straight games to finish his career, had a single-season record 87 receptions for 897 yards and two scores as a senior. He was seventh in the nation in receptions per game as a senior.
He played in the Blue-Gray Bowl Game following his senior season.
Copper landed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent wide receiver and is now in his fourth year in the NFL, including his second with the New Orleans Saints.
Copper said playing professionally wasn’t a realistic dream until the latter stages of his high school career.
In his NFL career, Copper has 34 receptions for 503 yards and four touchdowns. He has 22 kickoff returns for 418 yards (19.0 average) along with 29 special teams tackles.
He has three catches for 29 yards for the Saints this season.
Copper had a breakout season with New Orleans in 2006 when he played in 15 games, starting four of them. He hauled in 23 receptions for 385 yards and three touchdowns, including three catches for 29 yards in the team’s loss to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game.
Copper also returned four kickoffs for 79 yards (19.8 average).
In 2005 with the Cowboys, Copper played in all 16 games and had 11 special teams tackles. He returned two kickoffs for 32 yards (16.0 average) and had one catch for five yards.
As a rookie in 2004, Copper grabbed seven passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. He also had 16 kickoff returns for 307 yards (19.2 average).
While Copper said he feels blessed to be an NFL player, he said he’ll never forget his days with the Pam Pack. He’ll be forever remembered when his name is placed on a brick outside the football stadium where he really started to make a name for himself.
25 catches for 402 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman
55 catches for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore
38 catches for 683 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior
41 catches for 741 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior
Total: 159 catches for 2,826 yards and 27 touchdowns