COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove was ready for some football as a large crowd came out to support the Bulldawgs as they hosted Buda Hays on Friday night.
With two new head coaches — Les Goad leading the Rebels and Jack Alvarez leading the Bulldawgs — the evening’s plan included two sets of controlled scrimmages and a kicking contest followed by a live quarter.
Alvarez was head football coach at Ennis since 2011 before being hired to lead the Bulldawgs in May. He has an overall record of 165-74 and led the Lions to the 5A Division II state title in 2014.
The Bulldawgs were part of the former District 8-6A, which is now realigned to District 12-6A with Killeen, Ellison, Shoemaker, Harker Heights, Belton, Waco University, Waco and Temple.
Before his move to Hays, Goad served as the football coach at Navarro for the last 11 seasons and compiled a 107-28 record. In 2016, the Panthers went 14-1 and advanced to the Class 4A Division II state semifinals, the deepest playoff run in program history.
Goad walked into a Rebels program that graduated 32 seniors last year and was realigned in February by the University Interscholastic League District 25-6A.
The Rebels district now includes Lake Travis, Austin Westlake, Austin Bowie, Austin High, Austin Del Valle, Austin Akins, Austin Anderson and Kyle Lehman.
Hays got on the board first in the live quarter and while the Dawgs tried to catch up, but an interception in the last second led to a 7-0 advantage.
The first set of plays during the controlled scrimmage started with Cove’s offense rushing for 50 yards,
including a touchdown in its first 15 plays.
The Dawgs defense only allowed Hays’ offense to gain a total of 14 yards and one first down in its first eight offensive plays.
Cove’s defense also totaled for a loss of 15 yards.
The Rebels’ offense completed a pass for a gain of 32 yards and tied up the game with a touchdown in their final drive of the first set.
The second set started with Hays pulling ahead 14-7 but quarterback Russell Cochran connected on a long drive with Kameron Spruill for a 53-yard touchdown to tie the game once more.
Cochran then found sophomore running back Brandon Ortega for another touchdown as the Bulldawgs led 21-14.
The Rebels weren’t backing down as they answered with another touchdown of their own in the next set of offense plays.
In the very next set of offensive plays, Cove responded once more as Cochran completed a 70-yard touchdown to lead 28-21 over Hays.