Following a season-opening loss, Copperas Cove is in an unfamiliar position. The Bulldawgs are on the verge of a losing streak.
At College Station, Copperas Cove fell into an early hole it could not claw out of and had its opening night tarnished by A&M Consolidated.
The Bulldawgs’ home-opening opponent narrowly avoided a similar fate.
After building a 20-0 lead, Waco thwarted a last-second Hail Mary attempt at the two-yard line to barely hold on for a 20-14 win against Manor.
Despite the near collapse, the Lions possess something Copperas Cove lacks: Momentum.
The Bulldawgs never led against A&M Consolidated, trailing by as many as 17 points on two different occasions before losing 31-20.
The loss forces Copperas Cove dangerously close to a situation it has not experienced in almost a decade. The last time Copperas Cove suffered consecutive defeats in the regular season was 2003.
And the Lions will not be an easy opponent to rebound against.
Despite losing standout running back Darrell Harris, who broke the school rushing record last season, Waco’s ground attack remains potent with three capable replacements, including new starting quarterback Trynham Moore.
The junior completed 11 of 14 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. Moore also posted a rushing total.
“We’ve got to be hitting on all cylinders this week,” Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch said. “Their quarterback throws the ball well, he threads the needle well, they’ve got good receivers, and they’ve got good speed. We are playing a very potent offense.”
While the outcome at College Station was not what Welch wanted, he was pleased with his team’s overall effort, especially the offensive linemen, who helped junior running back Vondareaz King exploded for 250 rushing yards
“I think that overall this was a great game for us,” Welch said. “Games like this, they put a bad taste in your mouth. Anytime you lose, you don’t like it, but the bottom line is our kids played hard tonight, and I saw a lot of possibilities, but when you play really, really good people, it is going to be glaring what you have to work on. Tonight, we saw some things we have to work on.”
Primarily, the Tigers exposed Copperas Cove’s defensive flaws, recording 435 total yards of offense, including 324 passing.
It took a while before either team got on the scoreboard as the squads exchanged four scoreless possessions, but the Tigers ended the drought with 3:23 remaining in first quarter as quarterback JaylanCheshire found Derrick Dick for a 35-yard touchdown on third and five.
On the ensuing possession, the Bulldawgs were forced to punt, but turned it into a first down when the Tigers fumbled the ball on the return. Nine plays later, quarterback Robbie Seybold scored on a one-yard run to tie the game 7-7 with 10:42 left in the second quarter.
But it did not take long for A&M Consolidated to respond, needing 1:04 to score as Cheshire hit Tyler Spaw for a 54-yard touchdown. And, once again, it occurred on third down. This time the Tigers were facing third and seven.
“We had them in the hole a few times and let them escape,” Welch said. “That is something we’ve got to keep working on.”
Following a fruitless possession by Copperas Cove, the Tigers added to their advantage on a 25-yard field goal with 2:49 left in the first half and took a 10-point lead, 17-7, into halftime.
Cheshire put the Tigers ahead 24-7 on a one-yard run with 3:46 left in the third quarter, but, less than a minute later, King broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run to pull the Bulldawgs within 10 points at 24-14.
Copperas Cove would not go away, however, and the Bulldawgs engineered a five-play, 49-yard scoring drive capitalized by Chans Colbert’s one-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked and the Bulldawgs trailed 31-20 with 7:56 remaining.