Defense continues growth to lead Bulldawgs to 2-2 record

By TJ MAXWELL
Cove Leader-Press

It’s like some Twilight Zone episode when looking at the District 8-6A football statistics.
The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs are perennially atop the stat sheet offensively and dwelling near the bottom defensively but this non-district slate has the Bulldawgs in last of all the District 8-6A teams in both total yards and rushing yards. The Bulldawgs average 20.3 points and 309 total yards per game The Dawgs have 695 yards coming through the air and 541 more yards coming on the ground.
The defense, however, is just giving up just 302 yards per contest to lead the seven District 8-6A teams.
The Dawgs lead all district teams in rush yards, surrendering just 555 yards on the year for an average of 138.8 yards a game.
Cove is second against the pass with 654 yards (163.5 per game).
Only Belton and Midway have given up fewer points than Cove’s 24.8 points per contest. Midway leads the district with 20.5 points per game and Belton is just behind Cove at 23.3 points.
“We’ve got to eliminate those big plays and, if we do, we will become a complete ball club,” Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch said about his defense’s performance after Friday’s loss to Sachse. “We’re real close. We’re not quite there but we’re closing in.”
The Dawgs held the powerful A&M Consolidated offense to just 34 points in week one before the Consolidated Tigers poured it on with 52 points against Magnolia in week two and a 66-0 trouncing of Austin High in week three.
The Sachse Mustangs were held to their fewest points of the season. The powerhouse beat Byron Nelson 48-6 in week one and Plano West 48-0 before killing Mesquite 61-0 leading into the game against Cove.
Junior Tommy Connell nearly had his third interception in as many games in Friday’s loss to Sachse when the ball fell just behind his stretched out arms. Connell also has one of two defensive touchdowns and is second behind his brother Floyd Connell in pass break ups with four. Floyd has five to lead the team.
Senior inside linebacker Brandon Russ leads the team in tackles with 24 and defensive back Connell comes next on the squad with 21.
Senior Brandon Simmons has been a wrecking ball in the opposing backfield with six of his 16 tackles coming behind the line of scrimmage. Simmons also has two sacks to lead the squad. Senior Jake Carney also spends a lot of time in opposing backfields with three tackles for losses and 13 total tackles in just two games.
Senior defensive lineman Zach Moody leads in fumble recoveries with three and returned one of those for a touchdown.
The Bulldawgs defense will get another tough test this Friday when the No. 11 ranked (Texas Football Magazine) Midway Panthers come to town for Cove’s homecoming.
“We know Midway is going to be a little bit like (Sachse) and we know we could’ve beat this team here tonight,” said Russ. “That gives us a lot of confidence going into Midway because we know we can beat them too and start off district 1-0.
“We just need to start wrapping up and making tackles. All them big plays that got them all the yards were all missed tackles so that’s all we really need to do. Other than that, we’re fine. “
Welch likes how his team ended the preseason schedule even at 2-2 against a tough slate of opponents but knows it all starts over Friday against Midway.
“I thought tonight we grew up a little bit,” he said. The score is not indicative of how well we played.”

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