COPPERAS COVE — Manny Harris knows better.
Despite running the scoreboard, using officials and filling Bulldawg Stadium with fans, Copperas Cove’s quarterback was not fooled.
“It had the feel of a real game, but at the same time, we know we’re playing against our own defense,” he said. “They know our stuff. We know their stuff. We are just ready to get out there and play against other teams. We are ready for the season to come.”
The Bulldawgs moved one step closer to opening their 2014 schedule Thursday evening, completing spring training with the program’s annual Blue-Gold Game.
Loosely run as a legitimate game, the intrasquad scrimmage lasted three quarters before Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch ended the contest with the White team leading 48-21.
Although Harris did not feel the intensity associated with regular season games, Welch believes the game-like scenario will benefit his team.
“It was a good, long night,” he said. “We play it like a ballgame, and I think that is going to give us an advantage when we come back for two-a-days.”
The White team jumped out to an early 13-7 lead in the first quarter before Harris put together a go-ahead drive, scoring on a goal-line run with 3:03 remaining in the period.
In the second quarter, Harris extended the Blue team’s advantage to 21-13, finding Derris Prater for a touchdown.
Then the White team retaliated.
Running back LeDarian Johnson broke free for a 65-yard touchdown with 8:23 remaining in the first half, and the Blue team followed with a pair of touchdown drives engineered by Michael Hays. First, the sophomore quarterback found J.J. Childs for a score before connecting with Antonio Lealiiee on a 50-yard touchdown to build a 34-21 halftime advantage.
Regardless of the score, 8-5A all-district first-team selection Jaylen Waters was happy to be involved in some action outside of practice.
“This felt real good,” the linebacker said. “We’ve been waiting since last season to get back on this field.”
Defensive teammate Tyrell Thompson agreed.
“We’ve been practicing for the past four weeks, and tonight felt like an actual game we’ve been working toward,” the junior defensive end said. “It felt a little bit different. The intensity level was up a lot.”
The White team added two more unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter to produce the final score with Lealiiee crossing the goal line on a short run before junior quarterback DaVonn Hopkins-Phelps recorded a touchdown, hooking up with teammate Ra’shaun Henry.
Now the Bulldawgs break for the summer, but Welch intends to keep his players on a short leash during the offseason.
“We’re not going to turn them loose,” he said. “I expect them to get a vacation and refresh themselves. They need to get away and take a couple days off, but a few days is not two weeks. … We are going to start summer conditioning right after school ends. So, we’re going to hit it, and we are going to hit it hard.”
ALSO SEE VIDEO OF THURSDAY'S BLUE-GOLD GAME ON THIS WEBSITE.