For years, Jack Welch thought of Waco as a second home.
The Copperas Cove head football coach has sold the rights to that piece of land, though, and this spring, he began construction on his Bulldawgs’ second home — right in the Killeen Independent School District’s backyard.
The Bulldawgs play three District 8-5A games at Fort Hood Stadium during the upcoming season. And while the area’s newest facility is supposed to be a home field for KISD schools, Welch is determined to make it just another house for his Bulldawgs.
“We refer to (Fort Hood Stadium) as Bulldawg East,” Welch said. “We used to joke around and say Waco (ISD Stadium) was like Bulldawg East because we played so many games there. ... We think it is a great opportunity for Fort Hood and our community, and it becomes like a second home stadium.”
Unveiled last October, the $14 million facility was supposed to be a second stadium that allowed the KISD students to not have to play on Thursdays.
It was even billed as a new home stadium for Shoemaker, and perhaps Ellison.
The facility is quickly becoming a nightmare for KISD, though. And not just because there are no locker rooms and some genius on the school board even suggested the players dress out in tents.
The use of the stadium is becoming another beat down by Copperas Cove in what has become a one-sided border war.
Over the last decade, KISD has developed an insecurity complex when it comes to Copperas Cove and I can understand why. First and foremost, a KISD team has not beaten the Bulldawgs since 1998, when Ellison defeated Cove 43-17. Later that year, the Bulldawgs humiliated Killeen 58-0 to clinch the final playoff spot in District 8-5A and end a 38-year playoff hiatus.
Now, while the KISD administration was debating spending $320,000 on locker rooms to make Hood Stadium an actual usable stadium for its football teams, Welch came in and took away its main draw — another home field.
And he did that by simply scheduling a few practices there. Something that probably could have been prevented with a few words in the lease agreement. But it seems like the locker rooms, no one thought about that, and that is kind of embarrassing.
Welch and the Bulldawgs got their first up-close glimpse of their new home away from home Thursday, when the team played its third intrasquad scrimmage of spring training at Hood Stadium. Next season, Copperas Cove plays district games against Killeen, Ellison and Harker Heights at Fort Hood Stadium (Yes, Killeen is playing at Hood Stadium instead of playing in the stadium that is actually in its backyard, and I don’t understand that either).
Welch intends to use the scrimmage as an opportunity to acclimate his players to the surroundings, which could become a frequent destination for the Bulldawgs in upcoming years.
“I think it is going to become the Copperas Cove-Killeen Stadium,” Welch said. “Every time we play a Killeen school, it looks like we are going to be playing there. ... It looks like that is what they are wanting to do, and we are very open to that.”
Welch always believed that KISD conspired to make the Bulldawgs play Thursdays at Leo Buckley Stadium. Now, he probably thinks the same thing about Fort Hood. However, while there was not a way to spin playing on Thursday in his favor — besides the final score — he found a way to do that with Hood Stadium.
Will that advantage matter much when the teams hit the football field?
The games’ outcomes will be the same. Either Copperas Cove will continue its streak against KISD or it won’t because of talent, turnovers and touchdowns.
But if KISD does break the streak this upcoming season, it won’t be because it had home field advantage, either.
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569