Cove running back Cox takes over where Simmons left off

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

Senior running back Micah Cox has big shoes to fill.
Replacing district-leading running back Shontez Simmons, who is now at West Point playing for the Army Knights, as the workhorse for the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs’ stable of running backs is no easy task but it’s working out okay for him so far. 
Cox is currently third in District 12-6A in total yardage with 294 yards on 38 carries behind Andre Gebhardt of Harker Heights (42 carries for 323 yards and 5 TDs) and Will Nixon of Midway (40 carries for 305 yards and 3 TDs). He also leads also rushers with six touchdowns and all scorers with 38 points.
“The offensive line is blocking great,” said Cox. “They’re the ones helping me out. They’ve been having wide holes for me to run through and I just have to be a running back.” 
Cox opened up the season with 149 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead touchdown to put Cove on top of Burleson 38-34 with 2:03 left in the fourth quarter.
A last-minute touchdown by Burleson, however, snatched victory away from Cox and his teammates in the 41-38 loss to the Elks in the season opener. 
Cox made sure that wouldn’t happen again last Friday against the Mustangs as two third-quarter touchdowns took the Bulldawgs from five points down to 10 ahead with 53 seconds left in the third period.
Cox again crossed the 140-yard mark on 21 carries but added four rushing touchdowns to his district-leading tally. 
Cox also shot to the top of the leaderboard in kick returns with a 72-yard return that set up a 23-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Shane Richey to senior wide receiver Jahmeel Rice at the end of the first quarter. 
“Before, everybody kind of had their heads down,” Cox said about the kickoff return. “I told the guys, ‘we need to put our heads in the game, we can beat them.’ When they kicked it to me, I knew I had to go to work. I saw a huge gap and I went through.”
With junior quarterback Russel Cochran sidelined with a wrist injury from week one and highly touted offensive lineman McKenzie Agnello watching from the sideline, Cox knew he and his fellow backs needed to carry the load. 
“I was feeling some pressure,” Cox said. “We’re down one quarterback so we don’t need anybody else getting hurt.
“We’ve had some injuries but we’re just playing through them and hoping the best for the guys. Hopefully they get a chance to come back and play with us.” 
With another injury at left tackle, tight end Ethan Swanner stepped in for the offensive line.
“We’re putting band aids on top of band aids, but we practice for a reason,” said Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Alavrez. “The guys that are in that second chair are there for a reason. They stepped up and made plays tonight. I’m very proud of the whole team.”
Cox also knows if defenses key on him, they have other guys in the backfield to step in as well.
“I feel like we’re very explosive,” said Cox. “I feel like if one of us makes a play, the next play it’s another running back making plays.”
Cox and his teammates open District 12-6A action this Friday at Bulldawg Stadium against the Belton Tigers looking for revenge after falling 35-28 in last year’s district opener.
“I feel good and I can’t wait to play Belton, especially after last year,” said Cox. 
Alvarez knows it’s going to be a challenge for his squad. 
“We have our work cut out for us,” he said. “We’re going to respect them. We’re going to treat it like a state championship game.” 

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