Dawgs seek a little payback in District 12-6A opener
By TJ AXWELL
A year ago, tomorrow, the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs were feeling good at 2-0 through non-district action when they traveled to Belton to face the Tigers.
A little more than eight minutes had expired when the Bulldawgs found themselves in a 20-0 hole.
Despite a touchdown run from then junior Micah Cox and another by senior quarterback Easton Simpson, the Bulldawgs still trailed by 21 points entering the fourth quarter, 35-14.
Another Cox touchdown run with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter and a field goal attempt was blocked and ran back by senior Tommy Connell, the Bulldawgs pulled back within a score, 35-28, but with only 42 seconds left in the 35-28 loss.
The Tigers will come in hungry tonight as they suffered a 48-0 loss to no. 7 Austin Westlake to open the season and a 42-30 loss to the Round Rock Dragons last Friday.
The Tigers are led by junior quarterback Ruben Jimenez who is 25 for 53 for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He also has a pair of interceptions. Jimenez is also the Tigers’ leading rusher with 17 carries for 159 yards followed by junior Mike Davis with 25 carries for 125 yards.
Junior Luke Bramlett and senior D’Emante Smith are the favorite targets for Jimenez with eight catches for 56 yards for Bramlett and eight catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns for Smith.
Senior linebackers Colby Trovinger and Grant Milligan lead the Tigers’ defense with 25 and 23 tackles, respectively.
They will have their work cut out with two of the district’s top running backs in the Bulldawgs’ backfield.
Senior Micah Cox has 294 yards and six touchdowns on 38 carries for third best in the district while senior Elijah Delacruz is eighth with 183 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Both guys lead the return game as well. Delacruz is atop the district in punt returns while Cox and Delacruz lead in kickoff returns. Junior Brandon Ortega adds a third option at running back for the Dawgs.
“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. We’re very explosive.”
Cove sophomore quarterback Shane Richey will get his second start after junior signal-caller Russel Cochran broke his wrist in week one. Richey is 6 for 13 for 85 yards and a touchdown in a game and a half.
“We lost our quarterback last week,” Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Alvarez said after the Monor win. “I was just trying to make sure all the throws were easy to get the sophomore quarterback a win and some confidence.
“If we have to throw it 20 times or if we have to run it 50 or 60 times, we’re going to do what it takes to win.”
Senior linebacker Kendall Parker leads the Cove defense with 11 tackles while senior linebackers Devyn Taylor and Nate David have 10 each; along with defensive back Christian Tuiasosopo.
Cove lost several key players in the two non-district clashes and coach Alvarez is glad his players are stepping up to fill those holes.
Besides losing quarterback Cochran and left tackle McKenzie Agnello in week one, the Dawgs lost a couple more offensive pieces in week two forcing senior Ethan Swanner to switch from tight end to left tackle.
“Coach said they needed me at tackle so I said I will do the best I can, and I think I did that,” said Swanner. “I know I messed up some blocks, but the running backs made plays and the rest of the line made their blocks. I’m just proud of everybody on the team.”
Alvarez is happy with the results.
“We felt like we had to get a guy with some varsity experience on the line since we basically lost three offensive linemen in less than a week,” said Alvarez.
Cox is looking forward to the rematch.
“I feel good and I can’t wait to play Belton, especially after last year,” he said.
Alvarez knows this will be a tough test for his team.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “I didn’t know we had that many crutches in Cove. “We have our work cut out.”