Ellison v Cove

Ellison’s Maurice Williams (9) plays a header against Copperas Cove with NyGree Poole, left, and Cove’s Jose Chavez in the area near the Ellison goal on Friday at Avenue E Field in Copperas Cove.

Ellison won 3-2.

Ellison has won two straight since opening the second half of district play with a road loss against Harker Heights, and that has the Eagles in the thick of the 12-6A race with 16 points — just one behind second-place Belton and two behind first-place Waco Midway.

But the Eagles (9-7-2, 5-3-1 12-6A) still have room for improvement, according to head coach Niles Dunnells, as they prepare to host Killeen at 7 p.m. today.

For one, Ellison is still adjusting to life without senior leader David Navarro, who has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the game against Harker Heights.

Dunnells declined to comment on whether or not Navarro will be able to return this season, but for his part, Navarro is still doing what he can to help the team.

“David is the leader,” Dunnells said, “and he’s still coming out to practice and he’s still helping with practice and encouraging the other guys along and making them better because of it.”

That said, life without Navarro has been an adjustment for the Eagles, even with talented players like Marcell Wright and Alex Lee still around to help the cause.

Dunnells, however, said his team is starting to figure it out and find chemistry with its new lineups without Navarro.

What he hopes to see going forward, particularly tonight against Killeen, is focus for a full 80 minutes.

“That’s kind of been some of our downfalls is just losing mental focus for spurts here and there,” Dunnells said. “And I think it comes down to executing set pieces and defending set pieces.”

But with games against Belton and Midway still to come, Ellison is still in prime position to compete for a district title.

And while the Eagles may be without one of their top weapons for those games, Dunnells said he believes they can still compete for a top-two seed if they play to their potential.

“We’re capable of playing at the top of the district, it’s just a matter of doing that and not losing that focus,” Dunnells said. “Because that’s really the difference between the four teams with it being such a tight district race this year.”

Contact Jordan Mason at jmason@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7562​

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