TEMPLE — Copperas Cove coach Jack Welch has a simple philosophy: score as often as possible and as quickly as possible.
Even if the idea is somewhat in jest, against Temple, it worked to near perfection.
The Bulldawgs needed just one snap to get on the board and scored points on eight of 10 possessions en route to a 51-14 victory at Temple.
“Our game plan is to score on the first play on every series every time we get the ball,” Welch said jokingly. “We hope things like that happen, but we had no anticipation we’d be scoring on the first play of the game.”
Nevertheless, Copperas Cove did just that. After forcing Temple to punt on its first possession, Bulldawgs quarterback Robbie Seybold found Rashaun Gibson for a 50-yard touchdown on the team’s first snap.
By the end of the evening, the duo combined for two touchdowns, and Seybold completed 12 of 14 passes for 215 yards and what Welch believed to be a school record five passing touchdowns. In the first half alone, Seybold recorded 142 passing yards with 80 going to Gibson.
“Whenever you look to the side and see Rashaun matched up one-on-one with a
corner, it is always a good look,” Seybold said. “Rashaun makes good moves, he’s fast, and he catches the ball.”
The victory moves Copperas Cove (6-3, 4-2) into a three-way tie for second place with Killeen and Harker Heights in the District 8-5A standings, setting up a huge season finale against the Knights, with the winner clinching a playoff berth.
While the victory was critical for the Bulldawgs’ postseason hopes, the biggest victory for Copperas Cove might have come in the form of running back Vondareaz King, who returned to the lineup after missing the past two weeks due to personal reasons. The junior finished with a team-high 112 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and a 17-yard scoring reception.
“Anytime you are at full strength, you have the opportunity to do things that you always practice,” Welch said.
Temple played without starting quarterback Zach Allen, who suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s loss to Harker Heights. The Wildcats (5-4, 3-3) also were without the district’s second-leading receiver and backup quarterback Chad President.
“We think we have a decent running game, but Cove has a real good defense,” Temple coach Mike Spradlin said. “We weren’t in a position tonight to play very good catch-up ball. ... We had to earn everything we got, and they made us earn everything we had.”
Temple came into the game averaging 527 yards per game, but posted just 345 against the Bulldawgs and finished well below its average of 41.75 points per game.
Three series after Cove scored on its first play from scrimmage, Temple responded as running back Gaylon Sanders ran in for a two-yard touchdown. The four-play, 21-yard drive was set up by a King fumble recovered by Wildcat linebacker Dominick Thompson.
On the ensuing drive, the Bulldawgs converted two third downs en route to Chans Colbert’s seven-yard touchdown run, giving Copperas Cove a 14-7 lead with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldawgs added to their advantage early in the second quarter as Seybold and Gibson connected for another touchdown. This time, the pass covered 15 yards.
Neither team could find the end zone on the following three possessions, but Copperas Cove needed just three plays to cover 80 yards with Seybold hitting Colbert for a 53-yard touchdown, and the Bulldawgs took a 28-7 lead into halftime.
Copperas Cove scored again on the opening series of the second half, needing three plays to go 56 yards as Seybold found Phillip Baptiste for a 50-yard touchdown.
Sanders scored his second touchdown with 1:50 remaining in the third quarter on an 8-yard run, making the score 42-14, but the Wildcats could not get any closer as King ran for a 33-yard touchdown on the next possession.