Copperas Cove was determined to frustrate Ellison’s potent passing attack Thursday and was very successful in doing so.
The Bulldawg defense limited the Eagles to just 190 total yards of offense, registered seven sacks, forced three turnovers and spearheaded an impressive 38-3 win at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Cove also held Ellison to just 2-for-12 on third-down conversions, and the Eagles picked up only 12 first downs overall.
Four of Cove’s sacks were courtesy of senior defensive lineman Rylan Hunter, who said after the game the entire goal was to put as much pressure as possible on Eagles senior quarterback Carl Robinson III.
“You just have to be in the mindset that you can’t let them pick up first downs,” Hunter said, “and you can’t let them score through the air. If you’re able to do that, it’s easier to get those stops.”
All three turnovers forced by the Dawgs occurred in the first half, the third of which was an 84-yard pick-six by junior Floyd Connell with just six seconds remaining till halftime. The interception thwarted a promising drive by Ellison, who was trying to make the score 17-10 in favor of Cove.
Instead, the Dawgs (4-2, 2-1 District 8-6A) took a commanding 24-3 lead into the break and crushed any momentum the Eagles were trying to build.
Connell had primarily been playing wide receiver this season for Cove, but he has begun playing both ways in an effort to shore up the Dawgs’ secondary. That move paid off Thursday.
“My coaches put me in that spot to help the team out, and I’ll do anything to help the team,” Connell said. “I just wanted to give all the momentum to our team going into the locker room.
"Overall, our defense did good. Everybody did their job, and everybody was unselfish. It all worked out for us.”
Cove scored the first touchdown at the 8:53 mark in the first quarter on a short field thanks to an interception by senior Edward Lopez, which set his team up at the Ellison 17-yard line.
Four plays later, junior running back Tim Edwards punched the ball across the goal line from 1 yard out to put the Dawgs up 7-0 after senior place-kicker Seth Meeks made the point after.
The Eagles (5-1, 1-1) got on the board on the subsequent possession, as their offense traveled 61 yards on five plays, highlighted by a 63-yard run by senior tailback Darrell Peterkine. But the drive stalled, and they were forced to settle for a 35-yard field goal by junior kicker Morgan Button to make the score 7-3 with 6:56 remaining in the opening period.
That was all Cove would allow.
Meeks made a 27-yard field goal at the 9:33 mark in the second period to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Dawgs, and Edwards scored his second touchdown of the night on a 3-yard run to give them a 17-3 lead with 6:28 left till halftime.
In the second half, Cove added two more scores on touchdown passes by senior quarterback Caine Garner. Garner found senior wideout Kendall Small on a 17-yard pass-and-catch, and fellow senior Kylan Herrera found pay dirt from 6 yards out on a jet sweep that was pitched forward.
The Dawgs racked up 367 yards of offense, 252 of which came on the ground. Garner led the team in rushing with 89 yards on 15 carries while completing 7 of 10 passes for 72 yards.
Herrera had 11 carries for 71 yards, and senior Elijah Washington tallied six carries for 55 yards.