Bulldawg football to have tough test at neutral site
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ football team looks to improve its record to 2-1 with a tough road contest over El Paso Franklin nearly 5 ½ hours from home tonight when the two teams face off at the Mustang Bowl in Andrews.
The Cougars have had a well-balanced offense in their first two games with 152.5 rushing yards and 166 passing yards per contest for a total of 318.5 yards per game.
“They’ve got a traditional program with a lot of good players,” said Copperas Cove head coach and athletic director Jack Welch. “Their offense does a good job of moving the football. They want to establish the run but they probably are stronger in the passing game. The throw the ball pretty good and defensively they fly all around the field.”
The Cougars (1-1) opened the season with a dominant win over Midland 48-22 before falling to perennial powers Odessa Permian 42-14 in week two.
Junior Chris Kelley is 27 for 47 for 332 yards passing with three touchdowns to lead the Franklin passing game. Kelley’s favorite targets are sophomore Gabriel Stonewall (eight catches for 150 yards) and junior Khatib Lyles (nine catches for 53 yards and a touchdown).
“Offensively they have four returning starters from last year’s team that went to the playoffs,” said Cove defensive coordinator Reb Brock. “Two of them are offensive lineman (Rhett Sullivan and Braxton Greer). Lyles is a returning receiver and Dominguez is the starting running back from last year.”
Kelley is also highly involved with the run game. He has 34 carries for 69 yards and two scores. Senior Seth Dominguez leads the team in yardage with 28 carries for 115 yards and junior Taj Crenshaw leads in scores with three touchdowns on nine carries.
“Kelley was a wildcat quarterback last year,” said Brock. “He runs hard and is hard to get down.”
Senior Kaleb Gutierrez leads the Cougar defense with 9.5 tackles per game while junior Johnny Cerros leads the teams in sacks with five and is tied for the lead in tackles for losses with two.
“Defensively they’ve got six returning starters coming back,” said Cove offensive coordinator and associate head coach Tracy Welch. “They are led by defensive end (Cerros) and outside linebacker (Gutierrez). They play a 4-3 defensive and the mike linebacker likes to stay in as much as possible to stop the run game.”
The Bulldawgs come into the contest averaging 266 yards per contest on offense with 193.5 of those yards coming through the air and 72.5 coming from the rush attack.
The Dawgs lost a tough battle to A&M Consolidated 34-14 in week one before having a stellar defensive day in their 28-7 win over Mexico’s UANL in week two.
Senior quarterback Jaylen Smith is 38 for 58 for 377 yards and three touchdowns with two of those touchdowns going to receiving leader senior Floyd Connell (19 catches for 220 yards and two touchdowns.
Senior running backs Tim Edwards (18 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown) and Myles Alexander (11 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown) lead the Cove rushing attack.
Junior Tommy Connell (10 tackles and an interception), senior Brandon Simmons (8.5 tackles and five tackles for loss) and senior Andy Riley-Clark (9.5 tackles and an interception) lead the Bulldawgs’ defense.