Cove battles Vandegrift in final preseason tune-up
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs and Vandegrift Vipers battled it out on the gridiron of Leander ISD’s Ed. W. Monroe Memorial Stadium Thursday night in their final tune-up before the season opens in earnest Friday night as the Bulldawgs host the Waxahachie Indians to open the 2020 campaign.
The two teams went through eight different rotations starting with the Cove no. 1 offense against the Vandegrift no. 1 defense with the final two rotations pitting the 2s and 3s against one another.
The 2 ½ hour scrimmage then concluded with a pair of 11-minute live quarters with Vandergrift edging out the Dawgs 14-0 in the live portion.
Neither team could really muster much offense in their first possessions of the live portion with punts coming from both teams.
The Bulldawgs started putting things together towards the end of the first quarter with runs by senior Josiah Key and sophomore Warren Fleming but a turnover on downs on 4th and 6 ended the Dawgs nine-play drive.
The Vipers then took the lead on a 43-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Reese Beauchamp.
The Vipers then regained possession after a band handoff by the Dawgs resulted in a turnover and gave the Vipers a short field and they took advantage.
A pair of runs set up the Vipers just outside of the Cove red zone and senior Bowen Lewis finished the drive with a 21-yard touchdown run for the 14-0 final score in 22 minutes of action.
The Bulldawgs opened the first rotation of the night with some positive runs by senior quarterback Russel Cochran and senior running back Brandon Ortega before a pair of penalties and incompletions stalled the drive.
In the second rotation, the Vipers overcame a sack by Cove junior Caleb Newberry, a penalty and two deep incompletions but a defensive penalty kept the drive alive and Beauchamp found a receiver in the endzone for a score.
In the battle of the twos, the Bulldawgs started to find their groove. Runs by Fleming and junior quarterback Shane Richey quickly moved the ball into the Vipers’ red zone and Fleming finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run on 4th and goal from the three-yard line.
The Bulldawgs’ defense then stood tough forcing a pair of incompletions to stall the drive and force them back to the start.
The next 10-play rotation between the no. 1 Cove offense and Vandegrift no. 1 defense went nowhere fast. Consecutive penalties on the Bulldawgs pushed them deep in their own territory before a completion from Richey to Key ended the 10-play drive at midfield.
The biggest defensive play of the night came in the sixth rotation when junior defensive back Tyrese Carter intercepted the Vandegrift pass to force a restart from the -30. The Vipers then scored on a five-play drive highlighted by a quarterback keeper for 14 yards and a 10-yard touchdown pass.
The real test comes for the Bulldawgs this Friday night when they open the season at home against the Indians before travelling to Georgetown to take on the Eagles.