FORT HOOD — Stutter-stepping. Dragging defenders. Pounding the line. Interceptions at key times. Penetrating Copperas Cove’s backfield. There was nothing Killeen didn’t do to ensure a win.
The Killeen offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, paving the way for Daniel McCants’ six touchdowns and 276 yards rushing on 42 carries en route to Killeen’s 47-38 upset over Cove.
It was the first time since Ellison’s 1998 win over the Bulldawgs that a Killeen ISD team beat the squad. And it was Killeen’s first win over the Dawgs since 1995.
“I put it all on my O-line,” McCants said. “They did it all today.”
Daniel McCants found the end zone on a run off right tackle with three minutes and 36 seconds to play, putting Killeen up by 11.
However, Manny Harris hit Derrick Giles in the left corner of the end zone
to answer with 1:47 left and a fake field goal pass from Hunter McVeigh to Kris Ash brought Cove to within thee. The Dawgs even recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Matt Ballard picked off Harris for a touchdown to seal the game for Killeen with 1:29 remaining.
Cove quarterback Manny Harris hit 20 of 42 passes for 309 yards, but it was not enough to stave off an upset. After starting 0-3 in non-district games, Killeen is 1-0 in District 8-5A.
Cove quickly planted its foot at Hood Stadium, as a defensive back intercepted Killeen at the Bulldawgs’ 29 yard line. Momentum tilted toward Cove, as Harris threw to a wide open Tre Powell down the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown on Cove’s first play from scrimmage.
Killeen answered on its next play, as McCants disappeared behind blockers in the backfield and waited for his boys to open a gut gap for a 56-yard touchdown.
The Roos ran the read-option to perfection, as quarterback Garrett Gaskamp got first downs on two play fakes. To cap the eight-play drive, McCants powered his way up the gut for a 3-yard score, dragging defenders.
“Never move backwards, always move forward,” McCants said.
But Cove quickly answered as J.D. Post took the ensuing kickoff down the left sideline 75 yards for a score, after stiff-arming the last would-be tackler at the Killeen 40 yard line.
The Roos didn’t back down, going nine plays for 51 yards on five runs to McCants. On first and goal at the 9-yard line, the senior running back plowed through three defenders to find the end zone at the start of the second quarter.
“We played on this field before,” McCants said. “We knew what it was like. We just did what we had to do.”
Six plays into Cove’s next drive, Jaquell Johnson picked off a Bulldawg pass and returned it to Cove’s 34 yard line. Killeen drove 20 yards, but McCants was stuffed on fourth-and-1.
Cove bounced back, going 86 yards on six plays behind 15- and 17-yard rushes from junior running back Trent Canion. Fullback Shaq Fluelen capped the drive with a powerful 3-yard run off the left tackle to give Cove a 21-20 lead.
It looked like momentum was going to swing to Cove when a long snap ascended over the Killeen punter’s head on the next drive. But Killeen didn’t allow Cove past its own 5-yard line, and Jayson Stanley kicked a 30-yard field goal as Cove went into halftime with a 24-20 lead.
Another 3-yard Fluelen touchdown run capped a 10-play drive to start the second half. The Roos drove 54 yards in 2 minutes, 7 seconds on the next drive, before McCants stutter-stepped after an option pitch en route to a 10-yard touchdown.
Killeen’s next drive stalled, as Cove took over from its own 19. But Alexander was key again, recovering a fumble resulting from a faulty handoff with 10:26 remaining in the game.
Six plays later, McCants punched in a 1-yarder with 7:40 left in the game.
“Our kids felt comfortable in what we had worked on, and they just came out and executed well,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “The kids just did a great job. I’m so proud, I can’t believe it.”
Contact Brian Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567