Grey Wolves roll Dawgs 40-13 on senior night
By TJ MAXWELL
The Copperas Cove seniors were celebrated before the game but not much celebrating went on for the Bulldawgs post kick off. The Shoemaker Grey Wolves (4-1 in District 12-6A) shut down the powerful Cove offense to collect their first-ever win over the Bulldawgs and lock up the second-place spot in District 12-6A behind Midway (5-0) with a dominant 40-13 win.
The fast and physical Shoemaker defense held Cove to just 129 yards of total offense aided by three momentum-changing interceptions and held the district’s leading rusher, Antonio Lealiiee, to just 69 yards on 19 carries.
“We knew coming into this game they were going to be the number one defense and they had some big commits,” said Lealiee. They gave us a big fight tonight. I can’t lie, I did take some punishment but I knew coming into this ballgame it was going to be a hard-fought battle in the trenches because of that (defensive) line.”
A 14-0 second quarter for the Grey Wolves opened up a 27-6 halftime lead and, unlike last week, the Dawgs were never able to claw out of the hole.
“A lot of people on offense had their heads down,” said Lealiiee. “We tried to keep them up but the momentum kept shifting to their bench. We just did our best to get back in the ballgame.”
Trailing 13-6 to begin the second quarter, junior quarterback Caine Garner had his pass deep down the middle picked off by Shoemaker’s Patric Slider and returned to the Bulldawgs 11. Three plays later, sophomore bruiser Cameron Bausley bulled through the Cove defense for a two-yard score and 20-6 lead with 11:42 left in the half.
The Grey Wolves extended their lead to 21 on their next possession after forcing a four-and-out by the Dawgs.
A 17-yard pass from Shoemaker quarterback Jayden Spivey to Channing Christopher on 4th-and-8 kept the drive alive and Bausley finished off the 12-play drive with a two-yard plunge for his third touchdown of the game and the 27-6 lead.
Cove’s ensuing drive was cut short on the second play when Shoemaker defender Tavion Hawthorne outfought Cove receiver Ra’shaun Henry for the second Bulldawgs’ interception of the half.
“Shoemaker’s defense was amazing,” said senior Marcus Brumfield. “hey had the speed, they had the strength and they watched film obviously. They had the bye week and this week and they came in prepared.”
Shoemaker again forced a Cove punt to begin the second half and quickly made the Dawgs pay with a 50-yard touchdown strike from Spivey to Makeelan Henderson on the second play of the drive.
Cove threw the third interception of the game to stall another drive but this time the Bulldawgs defense prevented it from turning into points by forcing a punt and the special teams made it a 14-point swing with a blocked punt by junior Eddie Lopez returned for a touchdown by Brumfield.
“It just landed in my hands,” he said about the punt block and subsequent return for a touchdown. “Eddie Lopez made a great block on the ball. The defense was in the right spot to get the block and I took it to the house.”
The Brumfield score cut the Shoemaker lead back to 21, 34-13, after the extra point by Zach Samarripa.
The Grey Wolves put an exclamation on their history-making win with 13-play, 69-yard scoring drive culminating a 24-yard touchdown scamper by Spivey.
The Dawgs threatened to score to end the third with a 54-yard punt return by Kylan Herrera and to start the fourth with a 30-yard missed field goal attempt but both attempts came up empty.
The Grey Wolves methodically drove the length of the field one last time on a drive that began at their 20 and ended on a kneel down in victory formation at the Copperas Cove 10.
“I don’t know how to say this but they whipped us,” said Cove head coach Jack Welch. “They won this ballgame. It wasn’t a matter of we gave it away or anything like that. They won the ballgame. We played hard and we made some mistakes. Had we not made those mistakes and we were able to capitalize, it may have been a different situation, but I’m still not sure we would have beat them. The held us pretty well in check tonight both offensively and defensively.”
Mississippi transfer and new Cove kicker Cameron Irvine helped keep the Dawgs close early with a couple clutch field goals to twice cut the Shoemaker lead in half.
After the Grey Wolves to a 6-0 lead on a wide-open pass from Shoemaker quarterback Jayden Spivey to receiver Tarik Barnes for a 53-yard touchdown, Irvine connected from 25 yards to make the score 6-3.
Shoemaker extended the lead to 13-3 with a 15-yard run by Bausley. The score capped a five-play drive that began at midfield.
The newcomer Irvine again chopped the lead in half, 13-6, with a 39-yard field goal.
“I have to give credit to the (offensive) line, the holder and snapper, said Irvine. “They had to put in a new holder just for me because I’m left-footed. I appreciate all the coaches for giving me an opportunity to play and letting me do what I like to do.”
Shoemaker was 4-for-16 (25 percent) on third down and 3-for-5 on fourth down while the Dawgs were a combined 2-for-14 on third and fourth downs and had just five first downs for the entire game.
The Grey Wolves were led by Bausley’s 117 yards and three touchdowns on 23 attempts. Spivey added 123 yards and two scores on 4-for-10 passing and 16 carries for 90 yards and another score. His targets were Barnes and Henderson who each had one catch for touchdowns.
Lealiiee was held to a season-low 69 yards and no touchdowns in the loss and Herrera had two touches for 10 yards.
Garner was 7-for-15 for 53 yards and three interceptions. Henry led the receiving corps with one catch for 39 yards Tyson Curry again led in tackles with 8.5.