Cove defense stands out in 50-6 win over Knights
By TJ MAXWELL
Despite tallying at least 50 points for the third District 12-6A game in six attempts, the storyline from Friday night’s win over the Knights is the steadily improving play from the defensive side of the ball.
The Bulldawgs 5-3, overall, 3-3 in District 12-6A) held the Knights to just 114 total yards of offense in 47 plays for a 2.4 yards per play average in the 50-6 rout. The Dawgs also forced nine punts and held the Knights to 2 for 13 on third-down attempts and 0 for 1 on fourth down.
A telling statistic for the Dawgs was that all four of the top tacklers on the night were interior linemen or linebackers. The defense often diagnosed and broke the plays before the ball carriers could reach the line of scrimmage. Senior linebacker Jack Shumaker, junior linebacker Nate David and senior lineman BJ Abraham each had six tackles each while senior linebacker Jaylan Brown spent all night in the backfield with four tackles, all for losses, and two sacks. Shumaker, David and Abraham combined for another five tackles for losses with Abraham notching three.
Two-way player Quinton Lewis added an interception that he returned 45 yards to set up the Bulldawgs’ second score.
The lone score posted by the Knights came on a short field after the Bulldawgs lost their only turnover on the contest on a 4th and 1 play deep in Knights’ territory. Harker Heights recovered the fumble at the Bulldawgs’ 25 before punching it in on an eight-yard run by freshman quarterback Terrance Carter.
Senior defensive back Tommy Connell was all over the field. On top of breaking up possible touchdowns passes, Connell also blocked the extra point after the lone Knights’ touchdown and caught an 83-yard touchdown pass on offense.
Connell believes the secret of their success thus far is in the preparation.
“The coaches work really hard to get us in the best position possible,” he said. “They study the offenses night and day then come out with a PowerPoint for us. They make it easy for us to understand and I just thank them for everything they’ve done for us.”
Copperas Cove defensive coordinator Cody McCauley reiterated that point.
“We want to try to play base defense the best we can,” he said. “We want to try to line up to formations as soundly as possible. That’s the big thing we do is get lined up and play fast.”
Brown feels the teams’ playoff future is in their own hands if his defense takes care of the fundamentals.
“We have to just play as a team, execute the plays that are called and fly to the ball,” he said.
The Dawgs travel to Killeen to face the Shoemaker Grey Wolves on Thursday before closing out the season with the no. 8 ranked (texasfootball.com) Temple Wildcats.