Cove junior running back Shontez Simmons helping Bulldawg offense come to life
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs offense has been sputtering a bit this year and the team has been relying more on their defense.
Junior running back Shontez Simmons is looking to change that and his 174-yard, four-touchdown performance against Midway on Friday night gave them a much-needed spark.
Simmons is coming off a pretty significant injury that sidelined him through much of the offseason but regained his form during the summer track season where he claimed a gold medal in the 200-meter dash at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation’s Games of Texas in July.
Simmons has been used sparingly early in the season but has made the most of his opportunites.
After getting just five carries for 12 yards and a score in the season opener against A&M Consolidated and just four carries in the home opener against Mexico’s UANL, Simmons exploded for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries against El Paso Franklin in week 3.
Simmons was again used sparingly in the Dawgs’ 35-7 loss to Garland Sachse where he had just six totes for 32 yards.
Then came Friday night’s explosion.
Simmons gives all the credit to his blockers up front.
“The receiver did a good job blocking tonight,” he said in a post-game interview. “They have been outstanding and they’re getting better and better. I’m just really happy with these receivers and the offensive line.”
Despite losing 49-45 on a late scoring drive by the Panthers, Simmons feels like this game solidified the team moving forward.
“This game has brought us together as a team more than ever,” he said. “We realize that we can compete with Midway. They’re one of the best teams in the state and tonight we connected with each other and almost beat this team.”
Cove head coach and athletic director Jack Welch sees improvement each time they step on the field.
“They’re getting better each and every week and that’s what you’ve got to have,” said Welch. “The type of offense we have is control the clock, move up and down the field and get first downs. We did that tonight. We did a great job of it tonight and I’m very proud.
“I thought our kids really improved tonight and I thought we stayed focused on what we needed to do. I think is going to carry us and is going to build us for the future.”
Simmons knows that it is tough sledding ahead with the highly competitive District 8-6A slate to come but also believes the Dawgs have what it takes to make a playoff run against their final five opponents, starting this Friday against Shoemaker.
“We feel like we can stand with anyone as long as we believe and unite with each other,” he said. “If we do our assignments, get our blocks and everyone does their jobs, I think we can go pretty far.”
Simmons is eighth in the district in rushing with 44 carries for 342 yards for a district best 7.8 yards-per-rush average of runners with at least 40 carries. He is also tied atop the district in touchdowns with Harker Heights senior Jameel Hodges (705 yards and eight touchdowns on 103 carries for 6.8 yards per carry).
The Dawgs (2-2, 0-1 in District 8-6A) face off against the Shoemaker Greywolves (0-5, 0-1) Friday night at Leo Buckley Stadium.