Copperas Cove went home with the win Thursday night, but Shoemaker made the Bulldawgs fight for it every step of the way.
Copperas Cove (6-3, 4-3 District 12-6A) stays in the playoff race with a 41-35 win over Shoemaker (1-8, 1-6), despite a standout performance from the Grey Wolves defense.
Mark Walker strung together an 11-play drive that inched the Grey Wolves down the field until they were within sight of the end zone to start the game.
Walker then found senior wide receiver Claude Williams in the end zone being heavily covered by Cove defensive back Tommy Connell, but Williams only needed one hand to make the catch that put the Grey Wolves up 7-0.
The Bulldawgs answered back as senior quarterback Easton Simpson moved Cove to the Shoemaker 17-yard line and punched in a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Quinton Lewis to tie up the game.
Cove started the second quarter on their own 12-yard line, where Simpson handed the ball off to senior running back Shontez Simmons, who dodged through the Grey Wolves’ defense and carried the ball all the way in to put Cove ahead 14-7.
Shoemaker failed to make anything to happen on its next possession, and the Dawgs took full advantage as Simpson found Lewis again in the end zone.
The Grey Wolves were down 21-7, but they weren’t out.
Shoemaker defensive inside linebacker Morgan Anderson tackled Simpson and forced a turnover that put the Grey Wolves starting on their own 38-yard line.
While Shoemaker couldn’t get past the Cove defense, the Grey Wolves got a second chance as a long pass from Simpson to Jahmeel Rice was picked off by senior Tiji Paul.
Walker needed just two plays as he found Dashawn McCuins at the back of the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Grey Wolves kept the Dawgs off the board and trailed 21-14 at the break.
Cove had a rough start to the second half as the Bulldawgs inched closer to the end of the field, but the penalties just slowed the Dawgs down as Simpson found Rice for another touchdown after being pushed back to third-and-18. Cove led 28-14 in the middle of the third quarter.
Walker was sacked by Luis George in the middle of the fourth quarter, and Jaylin Dixon came in under center for the Grey Wolves on the next two possessions.
Simpson found Rice for another touchdown, but a failed two-point conversion had Cove leading 34-14.
Shoemaker took a chance in the middle of the last quarter going for the play on fourth-and-11 at its own 12-yard line.
Failing to get out of trouble, a turnover on downs put Cove within sights of the end zone, but the Grey Wolves defense stopped them from scoring.
Shoemaker started on its own 20-yard line when Dixon handed the ball off to sophomore running back Ka’Jari Herrera, who ran 77-yards up the field dodging Cove defenders for a touchdown.
The Grey Wolves trailed 34-21 with just over two minutes left on the clock.
Cove fumbled the ball on the kickoff return and the Grey Wolves recovered the ball to take over at their own 45-yard line.
Personal fouls added up for the Dawgs, and after three 15-yard penalties, Shoemaker was on first-and-10 at the Cove 12-yard line, forcing their opponent to call timeout.
Walker ran up the left lane and forced his way into the end zone for a touchdown that put the Grey Wolves down by six.
Simmons ran in Cove’s final touchdown of the night, and the Dawgs led 41-28 with less than a minute left on the clock.
As time ran down, Walker sent one deep and sophomore Monaray Baldwin caught the 40-yard pass to put the Grey Wolves within six points again.
Cove fumbled on the kickoff return once again, and the Grey Wolves recovered the ball at their own 47-yard line.
Walker launched the ball deep but Jerome Gaillard picked the ball off with 15 seconds left in the game.
Grey Wolves defense was led by senior Mike Santos-Adames with eight solo tackles throughout the night.
The Bulldawgs close out the season looking to get into the playoffs at home against Temple at 7:30 p.m. next week.
Shoemaker will be back at Leo Buckley Stadium next week with the last game of the season at 7:30 p.m. against Harker Heights.