Bulldawgs show a bit of everything in annual spring game

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

A long touchdown run, a long touchdown pass, a strip fumble, hard hits and pick sixes gave fans a little something for everyone during the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ annual Blue and Gold spring game Friday evening at Bulldawg Stadium.
The offense narrowly edged the defense in an evenly matched contest.
“I thought some guys made some plays,” said athletic director and head football coach Jack Alvarez. “I thought we were physical. It’s against each other, though, so I don’t know how we’re going to somebody else. I thought we showed some physicality today. I thought we showed some explosiveness on offense and we ran the ball pretty good.”
Returning running back Micah Cox got it started quickly with a 50-yard sprint to pay dirt to give the White Team a 7-0 lead after the extra point by Cam Ryan. Cox finished eighth in district last year with 118 carries for 817 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior behind West-point-bound district-leader Shontez Simmons. 
“I feel like we’re doing good,” said Cox. After summer weights, I’ll be on track to do bigger and better things than I did last year.”
Transfer Malachi Lyons, returning junior Brandon Ortega and Xzavier McCarter split time in the backfield with Cox. 
A long pass from junior quarterback Russel Cochran to returning senior wide out Jahmeel Rice set up the Dawgs second touchdown on a 16-yard scamper by junior quarterback Shane Richey.
Rice returns from a junior season where he finished tied for 11th in district with 31 catches for 496 yards and seven touchdowns.
“I think it’s a competition right now,” Alvarez said about the quarterback competition between Cochran and Richey. “It’s still a little too close to call maybe, but Rusty is a little ahead. I think it’s just from more reps. (Richey) is elusive also and he’s accurate. I think we’re in good shape right now going into fall.”
After a strip fumble and recovery by incoming senior Eddie Buendia to stop one of the offense’s possessions, junior defensive back Isaiah Haines worked on his tip drills as he pulled down a tipped ball and took it to the house to pull the Blue team within a score. 
McCarter added another score on a score up the gut for the 21-7 lead before a 60-yard pass from Cochran to Micah Cox down the has marks closed out the scoring.
“The offense is starting to click as a whole,” said Cox. “The chemistry is starting to come together and we’re getting better.”
Returning senior defensive back Jerome Gaillard brings some experience and length back to last year’s no. 1 ranked defense in District 12-6A but he knows their work is cut out with a plethora of new faces. 
“We’ve got a bunch on new players coming in, so we have a lot of work to do and new experiences,” said Gaillard. “If we keep working, I think we’ll be fine.”
Having an aggressive defensive coordinator in Cody McCauley, makes the job fun, says Gaillard.
“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “Everybody flies to the ball and gets team tackles. Everybody gets riled up.”
Gaillard likes what he saw from his defense on Friday but knows there’s a lot of work to be done before the season opener.
“We did pretty good,” said Gaillard. “We still have some work to do on our formations and motions, but I think as the year goes on, we’ll be better polished. “
Cox feels they are way ahead of last year where they missed all of spring practice due to the resignation of Jack Welch and hiring of Alvarez and staff.
“Last year, we didn’t know that much but this year, we know way more than we did last year,” said Cox. “When it comes to certain plays, I think everybody just needs know what they’ve got to do and know their responsibilities. I feel like we just need to go in the film room and talk about things and, if we’re off on anything, fix it.”
Alvarez likes what he saw from his team for the most part. 
“I think we’re on track, he said. “We still have a long way to go. I would say we have a lot of offense in, but we’ve got to narrow down what we’re doing. We kind of threw it at them from wide open to in tight. Maybe there’s a happy medium there, I don’t know. 
“Our goal is to be hard to defend and give our kids chances to be explosive.”
Alvarez and his crew will do some evaluations to close out the spring season and get ready for the 7 on 7 season.
“We’re going to take this last week to do some evaluation testing, watch film, start getting our 7 on 7 stuff together, try to get anybody well that’s dinged up and work on our summer pride program,” said Alvarez. 

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