COPPERAS COVE FOOTBALL

Copperas Cove's Rylan Hunter (40) stops Nuevo Leon's Jose Miguel Patino during the Bulldawgs' season opener.

Copperas Cove is simply taking what it is given.

One week after passing for 281 yards against Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, the Bulldawgs ran for 463 yards versus El Paso Franklin, proving they have the potential to attack opponents in a variety of ways.

Although Copperas Cove could choose to lean on either aspect of its offense any week, Bulldawgs head coach Jack Welch would rather let the opposing defense decide how his team attacks.

“You always want to be able to do the run and the pass equally well,” he said, “because there will be games when you just have to do one more than the other.

“So far, we’ve had to do different things each week, and that is very good because it shows the diversity we possess right now, which gives the offense a lot of encouragement.”

There was no stopping Copperas Cove’s ground game during last week’s 42-10 victory against the Cougars as it averaged 10.5 yards per carry, scoring all six of its touchdowns on runs.

Leading the way was senior Jaylon Hannah, who carried the ball six times for 199 yards, including touchdowns measuring 77 and 79 yards, while teammate Caine Garner totaled 105 rushing yards. Additionally, starting quarterback Jaylen Smith and running back Tim Edwards each topped the 50-yard plateau.

Following the win, Smith gave credit for the performance to his offensive line.

“I told them if they key on their blocks and do their job,” he said, “we will get in the end zone every time, and they believed me. They got the job done.”

After a pair of first-quarter turnovers, the Bulldawgs crossed the goal line on six of their next seven drives, excluding abbreviated possessions concluding each half.

If recent history is any indication, however, Copperas Cove (2-0) could be looking to return to an air attack this week.

The Bulldawgs travel to Garland for their first road game tonight, facing Sachse, which limited Mesquite’s running backs to just 112 yards en route to a 41-32 victory last week.

But do not expect Copperas Cove’s aerial attack to necessarily flourish. Against the Skeeters, Sachse (3-0) hurried the quarterback 21 times, finishing with five sacks and three interceptions.

Luckily for the Bulldawgs, they have a pair of quarterbacks in Garner and Smith who can run or pass and a bevy of capable receivers, including Gabe Williams, Kendall Small, Floyd Connell and Josh Canete.

Regardless of the outcome, this will be Copperas Cove’s final tune-up before opening its District 8-6A schedule at Midway next week, and Welch hopes it provides his team with enough experience to make a run at reaching the playoffs for a 13th consecutive season.

“Having our season opener canceled put us a little behind,” Welch said. “So, we’ve got to get out there and play and make mistakes and make some good things happen just to see how everything is forming together.

“The good thing is we are playing a playoff-caliber team that will test us, which will be good.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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