Killeen outlasts Cove 37-34 in back-and-forth contest
By TJ MAXWELL
Despite outscoring the Kangaroos 34-21 to close the first half and open the second half, a 15-point cushion to start the contest and an 8-0 finish to the contest by the Roos proved too much for the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs to overcome in their 37-34 loss to Killeen Friday Night at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen.
With Cove leading 34-29 after a 56-yard touchdown run by senior running back Micah Cox to end the third quarter, a roughing the passer call on 4th and 36 gave the Roos new life and a new philosophy as senior quarterback James Terry was replaced by Jayden Hill in favor of the wildcat offense.
After one Hill touchdown run was called back on a holding penalty, he chewed up chunks of yardage before crossing the goal line on a three-yard scoring run for the winning touchdown with 4:22 left on the clock.
“I’m not going to point fingers on one or two plays,” said Copperas Cove head football coach and athletic director Jack Alvarez. “I felt like there was about 200 or 300 plays in that game. When you make mistakes like that, the kids are just trying hard. We need to be more disciplined in those situations maybe, but I’d hate for any kid to feel bad that they were the ones that committed those. I can look at 10,000 other things that could have happened where we win the game, too.”
Reinvigorated by the return of their sophomore signal-caller after leaving the game with an ankle injury with 11:49 left in the first half, the Bulldawgs took the opening kickoff of the second half 84 yards in 10 plays, capped by a four-yard touchdown run by Delacruz for his third score of the night.
A defensive stand then gave the Dawgs’ offense a short field at their own 45-yard line. Three plays later, Cox leaped a pair Killeen defenders before running away from two more on his way to a 46-yard touchdown and the first Cove lead of the night at 27-22 with 6:22 left after the missed two-point conversion.
The Roos regained the lead when a bad handoff by Cove hit the turf and Killeen senior Ta’Shoyn Johnson pounced on it at the Cove eight-yard line. Two plays later, Terry finds Marshall for a six-yard touchdown pass and Marshall’s fourth score of the game.
The Kangaroos opened the scoring with a nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive finished by a two-yard touchdown run by junior running back Kadarius Marshall with 4:16 left in the first quarter. A pass interference call against the Bulldawgs aided in the drive.
Killeen added to their lead with another score on the first play of the second quarter when Marshall took it 64 yards to pay dirt on a direct snap for a 15-0 Kangaroo lead.
After sophomore quarterback Shane Richey left the game with a lower leg injury, the team rallied around third-string quarterback Stacey Drayton to break the scoring drought.
“I’m proud of all the kids,” said Alvarez. “I was proud of Shane and Stacey (Drayton) for coming off the bench. He basically came out of the film tower into the heat of battle and helped us get back in the game. Then Shane came back out after turning his ankle. The running backs, the offensive line and the defensive line played a full ballgame tonight. If we keep playing like this, we’re going to win some games and get in the playoffs.”
The Bulldawgs embarked on a 15-play drive that began at their own 25-yard line and culminated in a five-yard touchdown run by Delacruz. Runs by Cox and Delacruz, along with a pass from Drayton to Smith set up the scoring drive.
The Dawgs knotted the game at 15-all after they took advantage of one of two consecutive fumbles by the Kangaroos.
After the Roos fumbled the ball away on the ensuing kickoff return, a defensive stand prevented the Dawgs from capitalizing.
However, after Killeen forced a turnover on downs on 4th and 5 from the Killeen 36, senior linebacker Devyn Taylor forced a fumble on Terry and senior Marquis Brooks fell on it. Delacruz then shot through the middle of the Killeen defense for a 36-yard touchdown run for a 15-15 tie with 3:25 left in the half after the two-point conversion run by Cox.
The Cove defense then forced a punt, but a roughing the kicker call gave Killeen new life and they took advantage with a 34-yard touchdown pass from Terry to a wide-open Marshall with 14 seconds left in the half.
The Killeen defense closed out the half with an interception and 27-yard return by Marshall as time expired in the half.
Cox finished with 199 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cove rushing attack while Delacruz added 110 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
Richey was 8 for 16 passing for 70 yards while Drayton was 3 for 8 for 13 yards and an interception in one quarter of relief for Richey. Rice caught six passes for 67 yards while Smith had four grabs for 11 yards.
Sophomore Benjamin Shoemaker and senior Nate David led the Cove defenders with 4.5 tackles, including .5 tackle for a loss.
Marshall accounted for four of the Roos five touchdowns on the night. He rushed 15 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns and had six receptions for 86 yards and two more scores.
Terry was 12 for 20 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns and Hill added the final score on five for 29 rushing in the final minutes.
Senior Elijah Taylor had 9.5 tackles, including .5 for a loss followed by Hill (6 tackles) and Kelvin Coker (6 tackles, 1 TFL).
The Roos improve to 1-3 on the season and 1-1 in District 12-6A play while the Dawgs fall to 1-3 and 0-2.
The Bulldawgs return home to host the Ellison Eagles for homecoming this Friday at Bulldawg Stadium. The Eagles are coming off a 24-21 double overtime loss to the Midway Panthers.