COPPERAS COVE — The Jack Alvarez era at Copperas Cove has begun.
The Bulldawg football team suited up Saturday morning for an intrasquad scrimmage at Bulldawg Stadium.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” senior Easton Simpson said of taking the field. “I’ve missed it so much and I can’t wait for the season.”
The Bulldawgs were able to suit up and play a week earlier than surrounding school programs after electing to not hold spring ball.
“We’ve had a great week overall,” said Alvarez, who took over as Copperas Cove’s new head coach and athletic director in May. “I’ve had a great week with the kids, I’ve had a great week with the coaches.”
While many Bulldawg fans have worried about the changes that come with a having a new coach, Simpson has faith in his team.
“I feel that all of us, we’ve progressed faster than anyone thought we would in getting ready with a brand-new offense and defense,” he noted. “But the way we’ve worked these past few days, I’m confident that we will be ready.”
After waiting months to play, the Dawgs finally took the field.
Just as the offense was starting to come together, junior running back Elijah Delacruz was hit as he attempted a run up the middle.
Delacruz did not get up following the play.
As the athletic trainers and Alvarez tended to him, the team gathered in the end zone and prayed. An ambulance was called and the trainers were able to remove his jersey and shoulder pads while they waited.
When the paramedics arrived Alvarez gathered with his team on the sidelines and prayed for Delacruz.
Delacruz was taken to a local hospital by ambulance with his mother.
“That just breaks my heart,” Alvarez said of the incident.
The new coach spoke with his players before they resumed the scrimmage about 40 minutes later.
“We started off slow,” Simpson said of the offense. The senior quarterback went 6 for 8, passing for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
“Defense was strong throughout,” he added. “The biggest takeaway I would say is just the connection we have as a team.
“When offense was doing great, defense was cheering us on. When the defense was doing great ,we were cheering them on. It wasn’t headbutting. It was a team effort there.”
Although the Dawgs have only been on the field a short time learning the “nuts and bolts” of Alvarez’s playbook, Simpson said his team has only one goal in mind this season.
“We want to win the state championship,” he said.
The next step on the road to Cove’s goal begins Friday at 9 a.m. The Dawgs will host Buda Hays in a scrimmage at Bulldawg Stadium.
“I thought the kids did pretty well considering how long we’ve been practicing and implementing,” Alvarez said.
The only expectation Alvarez has for his team as they head into the season is to keep executing.
“I just want to see us play some good solid football.”