By Jacqueline Brown

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE Hundreds of people gathered to support the Bulldawgs at a citywide pep rally in the Wal-Mart Supercenter parking lot Thursday.

The Dawgs, 13-0 on the season, are preparing to take on the Lufkin Panthers, also undefeated this season, at 7:30 tonight in Waco for regional finals.

No matter what happens, were not going to let anything get in front of us, cornerback Mario Goins told a cheering crowd.

Dr. Glenn Acker, superintendent of Copperas Cove schools, told fans a story about his playing days.

He said his mother was a very wise woman, and his team had just lost a very important football game.

When I got home, she told me, Son, losing builds character, Acker explained. Spectators balked and then he finished his story.

Lets help Lufkin build some character! he shouted, and the crowd clamored.

Head coach Jack Welch had a different story to share. His was about Noah and the unquestioning faith that sustained him while he was building his boat.

Our players have unquestioning faith in each other, their coaches and the community, he said, declaring that the Dawgs are going to fulfill their dream and go one step further toward a state championship tonight.

Mayor Bradi Diaz braved the chilly weather to show her support for the Bulldawgs.

She said the teams success has brought the community together.

Its wonderful for the community and the region, she said, referring to the support shes seen from neighboring communities.

The 2005 Bulldawgs are the only team in the area left in the playoffs and the most successful football team in Copperas Cove history.

Defensive standout Sterling Lewis has helped lead the team to where it is right now.

As middle linebacker, Lewis calls the plays for the Bulldawg defense kind of like the quarterback does for the offense.

He said the teams motto for tomorrow night is, Dont take any play off.

You have to play every play like its your last, he explained. He also said the fan support at the pep rally was great.

We really appreciate it, quarterback Brent Garner added.

Garner said when the team hears the fans cheering on Friday nights, it helps get them pumped up.

Hed like to have as many fans as possible be as loud as possible when the Bulldawgs meet the Panthers at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, and he reiterated how much the team appreciates the communitys support.

Whose house? Dawgs house! the players shouted as they huddled together in front of the crowd. The players who many believe make up the best team in Copperas Cove history hope to continue carving the path to the state championship with a victory against Lufkin tonight.

Contact Jacqueline Brown at

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