Dawgs put second RB in Top 5 in blowout of Waco
By TJ MAXWELL
Killeen sophomore running back Kadarius Marshall took back over the district rushing lead with 877 yards and nine touchdowns in a 25-21 win over Killeen Shoemaker but Copperas Cove senior Shontez Simmons is right on his heels with 871 yards and nine scores on just 87 carries after Friday night’s 68-14 blowout of Waco High at Homecoming.
However, Cove junior running back Micah Cox joined the Top 5 party with his 174-yard, two score performance. He now sits in fifth with 514 yards and six scores on 71 carries. Cox is just eight yards behind Temple senior De’Jon Overton (71 carries for 522 and seven scores) and in front of Midway senior James Fullbright (80 for 459 and five scores).
Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Alvarez was impressed with the showing of his two horses Simmons and Cox but was even more impressed with the improvement of the interior on both sides of the ball.
“I was very proud of that group,” said Alvarez. “They came along way on both sides of the ball this year. I can’t say enough about the offensive line. There’s only seven or eight of them and every day they do what they are supposed to do to help us win football games.”
The offensive line blasted open holes for 545 yards on the ground and protected senior quarterback Easton Simpson for another 158 yards through the air as the Bulldawgs improved to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in District 12-6A action.
The Bulldawgs have only scored more points twice. They outscored Waco High 70-24 on Sept. 6, 2013 and defeated Shoemaker 70-6 on Oct. 11, 2011.
The huge outing moved the Bulldawgs’ offense from fifth-place to second in yards per contest with 428.5. The Temple Wildcats hold down the top spot with 492.6 yards per contest.
The Dawgs also had strong defensive showing against Waco as they held Waco scoreless through 3 ½ quarters when the Lions scored on a 34-yard pass to break the shutout. The Lions added another garbage time score as time wound down with many substitutions on both sides of the ball.
Junior offensive lineman is proud of the way his group up front is playing but also recognizes that solid defensive play helps wear down opponents by not allowing opposing defenses much rest time.
“The defense is doing great,” said Shanahan. “We still have some things to learn but we are definitely doing better than we have in the past.”
The Dawgs moved from fourth in total defense to third with the performance. They went from surrendering 295.2 yards per contest to 256.3.
“On defense we have five or six guys playing four spots, so I can’t say enough about their effort and what kind of guys they are,” said Alvarez. “They were dominant and there were some big hits in there too. The quarterback wasn’t able to get his feet set. It was just a lot of fun to watch.”
Senior linebacker Jaylan Brown feels better communication is the key to their improved play.
“I really think it is better communication,” he said. “We communicate very well. That’s all it is.”
Temple fell from the top spot to fourth with their 58-55 triple overtime shootout win over Belton. The Wildcats were giving up 209. 5 yards per outing before Friday and that moved to 271.2 after Belton.
The road doesn’t get easier for the Bulldawgs as they travel to Waco to face the perennially powerful Midway Panthers.
“Special teams is something we need to clean up,” said Alvarez. “Especially in a new program because we are so worried about getting the offense and defense installed that we let some of that go. We work on it daily but hopefully we’ll see that stuff get better.”
“Defensively, we need to work on the back end. There’s no sense in giving up and out and up late in the game but we take responsibility for that as coaches.”
The Panthers are coming off a bye and had two weeks to prepare for the Bulldawgs. The Panthers (3-1, 3-0 in 12-6A) rank third in total offense in 12-6A with 423.8 yrds per contest and they are second on the defensive side of the ball with an opponent average of 236.0 yards per outing. They are averaging 33.25 points per contest through four games and have surrendered just 20.25 points per outing.
The Bulldawgs are averaging 34 points per game on offense while surrendering just 26 points per outing.