The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs knew they had to be nearly flawless in the opening round of the Division II-6A bi-district playoff game on the road.
The Bulldawgs were playing the defending state champions, which are ranked 10th in the state with at least a dozen student-athletes signed to Division 1 football programs.
Turnovers and missed opportunities ended the season for CCHS in a 44-10 loss to DeSoto (10-1).
Copperas Cove finished the season at 5-6.
DeSoto scored on four of its five possessions in the first half for a 27-3 halftime lead.
“It is extremely difficult when you get to this level,” CCHS coach Jack Welch said. “We knew that we had to be precise, play perfect tonight.”
The Eagles drove down the field in nine plays, scoring on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Courtney Douglas to Bryon Hanspard at the 9:26 mark of the first quarter.
Cove responded with an 11-play drive that resulted in a 45-yard field goal by Andy Riley-Clark.
Floyd Connell recovered a fumble for Copperas Cove on DeSoto’s next possession, but the Bulldawgs could not take advantage.
DeSoto came alive with three touchdowns in the second quarter. Kelan Walker, Daryon Triche and Douglas scored touchdowns for the Eagles for a 27-3 halftime lead.
The Eagles added a 42-yard field goal by Gerrit Blodgett, a 2-yard touchdown run by Shundarion Ward and a 14-yard touchdown run by Dylan Lawrence in the third quarter for a 44-3 lead.
Copperas Cove got into the end zone on an 18-yard pass from senior quarterback Jaylen Smith to running back Dylan Taijeron at the 6:41 mark of the fourth quarter.
Taijeron finished with 57 yards rushing and one catch for a touchdown. Smith threw for 121 yards for Copperas Cove.
Defensively, Brandon Russ finished with 10½ tackles for Copperas Cove in his final varsity football game.
Copperas Cove junior varsity teams finished 8-2 and 10-0 respectively. Both won district titles.
“We have some talent coming,” Welch said.
El Maton 34, Florence 7: Florence was knocked out of the Class 3A, Division II playoffs after traveling to face the El Maton Tidehaven Tigers in the bi-district round Thursday evening and lost 34-7. Florence (4-7) came out swinging at the beginning of the third quarter as senior quarterback C.J. Giddens ran the ball for a 12-yard touchdown putting the Buffaloes on the scoreboard.
Canyon Lake 31, Gatesville 21: Gatesville High School finished the season with a 7-4 record.