Bulldawgs face must-win against Knights on Friday
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove football team has their playoff lives at stake when they host the Harker Heights Knights Friday night at Bulldawg Stadium. The Bulldawgs currently sit in the sixth-place spot out of nine teams at 2-3 with only the top four spots earning a playoff berth.
The Midway Panthers and Temple Wildcats are tied atop the District 12-6A standings at 5-0 while Belton comes in at third with a 4-1 record and Ellison and Killeen are tied at 3-3 with both teams set to face each other on Nov. 2. The Killeen Kangaroos are on a bye this Friday before closing out the season at Leo Buckley Stadium against Ellison and on the road at Waco High.
The Belton Tigers host the Eagles on Friday before hosting Waco High on Nov. 2 and traveling to Waco to face the Midway Panthers on Nov. 9 to close the regular season.
With Belton and Killeen holding tiebreakers over the Bulldawgs, Cove will need to win Friday over the Knights and beat the Shoemaker Grey Wolves in a Thursday night clash at Leo Buckley Stadium next week as they finish off the season with a tough matchup at Bulldawg Stadium against the no. 8 ranked (texasfootball.com) undefeated Temple Wildcats.
The Knights come into Friday’s contest ranked second-to-last in points scored during district action and have given up 223 points in their six games for a district-high average of 37.2 points per contest. The Knights are averaging 216.3 yards of team offense per outing for eighth in the district in front of Waco High (209.3). Opposing offenses are averaging 388.1 yards against the Knights defense.
Sophomore Contavieon Johnson leads the Knights rushing attack with 88 carries for 425 yards and four touchdowns while freshman Terrance Carter leads the Knights’ passing attack with 9 for 29 passing for 237 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions.
Senior Devin Barnes leads the Knights defense with three interceptions for second in district behind Ellison’s Mike Adams with four.
Sophomore Jaylan Washington leads the Knights’ special teams with 10 kickoff returns for 208 yards for a 20.8 average per return. Junior Jamie Vargas has 11 extra points for seventh in district.
The Bulldawgs come into Friday’s contest with one of the top offenses in the district despite their 2-3 record. The Dawgs only trail district leaders Midway and Temple in team offense with 428.1 yards per contest. The Dawgs have 1,758 yards on the ground and another 1,239 yards through the air for a total of 2,997 total yards through seven games.
The Dawgs are averaging 38.2 points per contest in their five district games thus far and are surrendering 35 points per outing.
Senior running back Shontez Simmons leads the Dawgs’ rushing attack with 109 carries for 949 yards and nine touchdowns for second0best in the district. Killeen sophomore Kadarius Marshall leads with 152 carries for 1,246 yards and 11 scores. Cove junior Micah Cox also ranks in the Top 10 with 79 carries for 546 yards and six scores for eighth-best.
Senior signal caller Easton Simpson comes in at fifth in passing with 87 for 145 for 1,168 yards and 10 touchdowns with four interceptions.
Senior wideout Quinton Lewis is tied for fourth in the district with 30 catches for 445 yards and four touchdowns. Temple junior Quentin Johnston leads the district in touchdown catches with 12 on 30 grabs for 682 yards. Belton senior Anthony Brown leads in total catches with 43 for 590 yards and six scores.
The defense ranks in the top four in total yards surrendered as well with just 279.9 per game. Killeen leads the district with 265.9 with Temple (268.4) and Midway (270.5) rounding out the top three.
Senior defender Tommy Connell has a second-best three interceptions to lead the Bulldawgs and is third-best in punt returns with five returns for 78 yards.
The Bulldawgs have fumbled the ball away a district-worst 13 times on offense while getting nine fumbles and eight interceptions from opponents on defense for a tie for second-best in both categories.