Dawgs battle past Abilene Eagles 14-7 in annual scrimmage
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove defense looked to the most improved aspect of the Bulldawgs as they had big hits for pass breakups, tackles for losses and interceptions during Friday’s annual scrimmage against the Abilene Eagles.
The offense also shined with long touchdown runs, pinpoint passing touchdowns and dominant line play.
Penalties on the first two plays set an ominous tone for the Dawgs but they quickly erased those thoughts when senior bruiser Tim Edwards broke loose on a 72-yard touchdown run on the fourth play of the drive to take a 7-0 lead.
“At first we were a little sluggish,” said Edwards. “Abilene came out and hit us couple times but, as Jaylen said throughout the scrimmage, ‘we’ve got to get the train running.’ We did and when it’s running it’s hard to stop. We’ve got a lot of weapons on offense.”
In the much anticipated live quarter portion of the scrimmage, the Dawgs forced three-and-outs on the Eagles’ first two possessions while posting seven points of their own on the long Edwards run.
“I knew I had somebody right there,” Edwards said of his scoring run. “He was trying to grab my leg at first but the guard Gage (Donoso) pushed him down. I saw the linebacker tuck back but he missed me and the safety over the top had an angle on me but I pressed and exploded quicker than him. I don’t know if he slowed down or what but I cut the angle. I was getting ready to dive at the end but I saw I had the angle so I just took it in.”
The biggest play of the day came for the maligned Cove secondary when the Abilene Eagles were driving down for the tying score with time winding down.
Two-way standout Floyd Connell stepped under the pass to the flat and picked it off to secure the 14-7 victory.
“I was just thinking I’ve got to make a play,” said Connell. “It was a close game.”
Connell also had a hand in giving the Dawgs the lead on the previous drive.
After four consecutive runs by senior Dylan Taijeron pushed the Dawgs from near midfield where they received the punt to the Abilene 28, a pass to senior Caleb Hontz from senior Jaylen Smith put the Dawgs inside the 20 and a pass from Smith to Connell in the back of the end zone gave the Dawgs a 14-7 advantage.
“We’ve got lots of playmakers on offense and Jaylen does a good job,” said Connell. “The offensive line is doing a good job of giving him time in the pocket to throw the ball and he’s just really been on point this year.”
If starting on offense and defense isn’t enough for Connell, he also spent time rushing the kicker just missing a couple blocks.
Connell credits a valuable off-season program for his ability to be effective in all three aspects.
“We worked hard in the summer,” he said. “Coach Welch has a good program.”
He also credits the off-season for the chemistry between the quarterback and receivers, particularly himself.
“It took lots of reps,” he said. “Throughout the summer we stayed after weights every day throwing the ball around. Every day after practice we are running routes. I think he’s going to be very composed this year. I think he’s going to be a good quarterback.”
The true test for the Dawgs comes this Friday as they open the season against the perennially powerful A&M Consolidated Tigers.
Edwards feels like a quick start will go a long way in securing a victory in College Station.
“We’ve got to get it popping as soon as we get on the field,” he said. “As soon as the first snap goes, we’ve got to get going. It took us two series to get it popping today in the controlled scrimmage.”