12 Dawgs named to All-District Team; Connell named Offensive POY

By TJ Maxwell
Cove Leader-Press

The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs fought their way back to the playoffs after a rare miss a year ago and nearly a dozen players were recently honored with selections to the 8-6A All-District team for their efforts in leading the way while 13 more players received honorable mention
Senior wide receiver Floyd Connell was the only Dawg to earn a superlative as he was named the district’s Offensive Player of the Year. Connell was also named to the Second Team Defense as a cornerback and received and honorable mention as a kick returner.
Connell finished the year with 72 catches for 922 yards and nine touchdowns and had two interceptions at cornerback.
Two players more players were named to the First Team Offense and six more were named to the Second Team Offense with one player getting two nods.
Senior running back Dylan Taijeron was named First Team Running Back.
Taijeron finished the year with 92 carries for 463 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior Bryce Ranes earned a spot on the First Team Special Teams as a returner. Ranes was also named to the Second Team Offense as a receiver.
Ranes had 17 kick returns for 411 yards.
Senior Jaylen Smith was selected to the as a quarterback. Smith finished the year 166 for 271 passing for 2,020 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also had eight interceptions. Smith added 68 rushes for 326 yards and three more scores.
Junior Shontez Simmons also made the team at running back. Simmons had 86 carries for 615 yards and nine touchdowns on limited action.
Senior Daveon Thomas was selected as a tight end while senior offensive linemen Josh Smith and Austin Duenes received nods at Center and Offensive Guard, respectively.
Three more Dawgs joined Connell on the Second Team defense including little brother junior Tommy Connell at cornerback. Juan Jiminez was selected as a defensive tackle and Andy Riley-Clark was s at safety.
Also receiving honorable mention for the Bulldawgs were sophomore Zachary Hoyle (defensive line), junior Mark Gastelo (fullback), senior Kaleb Honts (wide receiver), senior Gage Donoso (offensive line), senior Tavis Lewis (offensive line), junior Kyle Stifflemire (defensive end), senior Bandon Russ (inside linebacker), junior Jack Shumaker (outside linebacker), senior Darius Fuselier (safety), junior Justin Velesky (punter), senior Joseph Santiago (deep snapper), junior Bjkeanu Abraham (defensive tackle) and junior Jacob Carney (inside linebacker).
As expected, state runners up Waco Midway filled up most of the First Team with senior quarterback Tanner Mordecai being selected as the District MVP and senior Jaxon Player being named Defensive Player of the Year. 
Eight more Midway players were named to the First Team Offense and three were named to the First Team Defense.
Ellison sophomore Breezion Spiller was named Offensive Newcomer of the Year while Belton sophomore Jason Stphens was named the Defensive Newcomer of the Year.

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