Ellison Vs. Copperas Cove

Copperas Cove head coach Jack Alvarez motivates his team on the sideline against Copperas Cove at Leo Buckley Stadium in Killeen.

Copperas Cove head coach Jack Alvarez won his first District 12-6A game Thursday, and he enjoyed it.

“It feels great,” he said. “Like I told the kids, we get an extra day to enjoy it, but don’t be satisfied.

“Let’s do what we have to do next week.”

After starting district with two consecutive losses, the Bulldawgs went into the matchup with a sense of urgency to beat Ellison.

“We all knew that we had to win this game, because we’re not looking so good in the playoff chances right now,” Copperas Cove senior defensive back Tommy Connell said. “So we’re talking each game little by little and trying to win to make the playoffs.”

After falling behind 48-14 at home against Killeen, Copperas Cove shifted its focus and mindset coming into Thursday’s game.

“It was all about the pregame this game,” Bulldawgs senior quarterback Easton Simpson said. “The first two weeks, we weren’t, so I feel like once we were focused during the pregame, it completely changed.”

Staying calm and shifting the focus during the game also made a difference, according to Connell.

“We mostly looked through the backfield, and the receivers got through us,” he explained. “But we did a lot of work to do better.”

The adjustments worked as the Bulldawgs beat the Eagles 53-26.

“I thought our kids played from the start to the finish,” Alvarez said. “I thought we answered at halftime great, came out and got ourselves a score and stop.

“I felt it was a complete game, and I was proud of them.”

According to Simpson, the team knew this was a must-win game to avoid having their playoff chances come down to the final game in district.

“We knew that we had to start fast,” he said. “We hadn’t done that the last two weeks.”

The Bulldawgs came out fast, and once they did, they didn’t stop.

Simpson got Copperas Cove on the scoreboard first with a touchdown, and he added another in the fourth quarter.

“It was fun,” Simpson said. “But it’s not on me.

“It’s the guys up front and my receivers. That’s why I had the game I had.”

Additionally, senior Shontez Simmons led the Bulldawgs with 270 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, while teammate Micah Cox added another 161 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

Simpson completed 12 of 21 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown.

Trevor Troy had two catches for 69 yards, while Jahmeel Rice had 68 yards on four catches, and Quinton Lewis finished with 48 yards and a touchdown on two catches.

“We’ve been challenging them to play more, because we’ve been seeing great things from them all the way along,” Alvarez said. “And we kind of put it all together tonight.

“I was very proud of them offensively.”

Copperas Cove (3-2, 1-2) plans to keep the momentum going into next week as it heads back to Bulldawg Stadium to host Waco on Friday.

“We want to keep this train rolling,” Simpson said. “We don’t want it to stop.

“It’s finally time for us to turn this around, and we have to win if we want a chance.”

“Our team is mostly seniors,” Connell added, “so we all know this is our last ride together. So, we’re pushing each other in practice, pushing each other in games and just trying to get better every single day.”

With much of the district race still ahead, the Bulldawgs have their eyes set on the upcoming competition.

“I’m looking forward to playing everybody,” Simpson said.

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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