Dawgs win thriller over Mustangs
By Steve McWhorter
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs played their home opener this week against the Manor Mustangs. Even with the heat, the community showed up for the game.
The heat didn’t deter the fans as the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs won their first game of the year in exciting fashion.
“I feel like I was having a heart attack, that was very stressful. But I tell you what, I’m super proud of my kids, down 14 – 0 and in the past, Cove kids would have hung their head. But we fought back, took the lead,” head coach Tony Johnson said. “Then they scored late and it looked like the game was over but ‘boom’ they go again, back and forth. The resiliency of our kids, the resiliency of our coaches and staff, I’m just super proud. All three phases had moments tonight that were amazing.”
The Bulldawg offense started off the first half slowly going three and out.
In their first drive, the Mustangs moved the ball 98 yards in four plays for a touchdown. The Mustangs led 7-0.
The Bulldawgs moved the ball more effectively on their next drive. The Bulldawg Quarterback, Micah Casson, ran for 20 yards and completed a 17 yard catch to Trishstin Glass. The Bulldawgs through an interception on the Manor two-yard line.
The next Mustang drive culminated in an 80-yard run for touchdown. The Mustangs led 14-0.
Manor was moving the ball down the field again when the Bulldawg defense asserted themselves. Darius Milo intercepted a throw by the Manor quarterback and returned for 15 yards.
The play by the defense woke gave motivation to the Bulldawg offense. After the interception Casson threw two passes to Daniel Izquierdo, as well as passes to Demetrius Pearce and Glass to set the Bulldawgs up at the Manor 2-yard line. Malik Cuthbert ran for a touchdown and the point after try was successful. The Bulldawgs trailed 7-14.
Manor went three and out on the next drive and punted. Trishstin Glass returned the punt 44 yards to the Manor 10-yard line. The Bulldawgs couldn’t punch it into the end zone and settled for a17 yard field goal by Christian Luna. Copperas Cove reduced the Manor lead to four making it 14-10.
The Bulldawgs began their next drive with a holding call, putting them at third and 20 from their own 10. Casson scrambled for 10 yards but personal foul penalty call on the Mustangs gave the Bulldawgs a first down and they never looked back. Arthur Miller caught a pass for a 30-yard gain and Daniel Izquierdo caught a pass for a 20-yard game, moving the Bulldawgs to the Manor 7-yard line. Nakeem Freeman ran the ball in from there a touchdown. The Bulldawgs had their first lead of the game after scoring 17 unanswered points with only 1:30 left in the 2nd quarter.
Excellent defensive play by the Bulldawgs, including a 5-yard sack by Gabriel Maxey-Andall, netted another punt by the Mustangs. The Bulldawgs ran the clock out to go into the half ahead 17 – 14.
“We have to get ready for Waco U before getting ready for district.”
Going into the second half, the Bulldawgs led 17-14.
Copperas Cove offense moved the ball efficiently. Casson had a 15-yard run to gain a first down. A screen pass to Cuthbert opened up a 50-yard scamper for a touchdown. Copperas Cove extended their lead to 24-14.
Manor started the next drive at their own 13-yard line. The Mustangs moved the ball down the field well until a pass and fumble was recovered by Darius Milo at the Manor 33.
Manor received the ball. Two plays later, Manor had a 40-yard run for touchdown. During the ensuing point after kick the ball was blocked by Malik Cuthbert and returned 95 yards for 2 points for Copperas Cove. Copperas Cove still held the lead at 26-20.
Copperas Cove’s next drive started at their own 27-yard line. Casson completed a 25-yard pass to Pearce for a first down. The Bulldawgs were held to a 4th and 3 but Cuthbert took the fake punt snap and rand for a first down. The offense sputtered and the Bulldawgs attempted a 34-yard field goal which was blocked by the Mustangs and ran deep into Cove territory.
Manor managed to get a touchdown and two-point conversion, taking the lead at 26-28 with 4:17 left in the game.
Copperas Cove took the kickoff and Glass ran the ball back to the 46-yard line. Daniel Izquierdo caught a pass for a 25-yard gain. A pass to Miller netted a touchdown. Cuthbert ran the two-point conversion in allowing Copperas Cove to take the lead again with 2:08 left in the game. Cove led 34-28.
The Mustangs would not go away. They started from their own 31-yard line. On a 4th down play, which would have assured a Cove victory if they stopped Manor, the Mustangs ran for a 59-yard touchdown and two-point conversion. The Bulldawgs were down 34-36 with only 1:04 left in the game.
Copperas Cove started their final drive on their 20-yard line. Casson passed to Miller for a long gain, ball at the Manor 43. Miller caught the next pass and ran for a 43-yard touchdown and Copperas Cove successfully ran in the two-point conversion. Copperas Cove’s drive took only 40 seconds.
Copperas Cove plays University High School in Waco next week.