5A-4A Blitz Rewind: Dawgs remain formidable on the ground

Herald/TJ MAXWELL - Ellison junior running back Isiah Cowan, center, runs into a wall of Killeen defenders in the first quarter Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium.

By Angel Verdejo and Kevin Posival

Killeen Daily Herald

Despite the outcome, one thing remains the same with the Copperas Cove Bulldawgs.

Their running game is still as potent as fans and opponents thought it was.

Cove lost a late lead to Southlake Carroll, falling to the Dragons 38-31 on the road Friday.

But - even in the loss - the Dawgs (0-1) ran all over Carroll. Last year, Cove ran for nearly 400 yards in its win over the Dragons, with Orlando Thomas and William Randolph both topping the 100-yard mark.

This time it was Thomas and Brandon Hamilton who led the way for a ground game that totaled 441 yards.

"We tried to fence them in," Carroll head coach Hal Wasson said. "But every now and then they would find the gate to the fence."

Thomas reached 100 yards by halftime Friday, finishing with 192 on 23 carries and two touchdowns. Hamilton had just 47 yards at the break, but ended up with 158 (18 carries) and two scores as well.

Turnovers still plague Knights

Just over halfway through last season, the Harker Heights Knights were in the thick of the early District 12-5A playoff hunt at 3-3, 2-1 in district on Oct. 14.

Four weeks later, the Knights once again found themselves around the bottom of the standings. The reason was obvious - turnovers.

"We turned the ball over too many times ... that's the bottom line, what I talked about happened and I'm not going to say another word about it," Heights head coach Mike Mullins said following a season-opening 33-28 loss Friday in Georgetown.

Turning the ball over 13 times during a four-game, season-ending losing streak, the Knights repeatedly were their own worst enemy, fumbling or throwing costly late interceptions, usually when the offense was on the verge of scoring.

Heights' struggles with ball control were on full display Friday, when the Knights surrendered seven total fumbles - five lost - including six in the first half, twice inside the Georgetown 10-yard line.

Turnovers doom Eagles in 28-14 loss

After turning the ball over 15 times in 2010, the Eagles started this season with five in six possessions against rival Killeen in Ellison's 28-14 loss.

The Eagles started digging themselves into a deeper hole with three turnovers in four second-quarter drives. Two of those lead to short-yardage scoring drives for Killeen and a 21-0 halftime deficit.

The Eagles then turned the ball over on their first two second-half series, including a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown on their first drive of the third quarter.

Roos' no-name defense proves stout

The headliners may be gone at Killeen, but the Roos defense is still loaded with star power and will soon be making a name for itself. Killeen's defense held Ellison to just 113 yards through the first three quarters and almost half of those yards came on the Eagles' 11-play, 52-yard game-opening drive that stalled at the Killeen 44-yard line.

After that drive, Ellison picked up just five first downs and only twice made it past the 50.

Shoemaker's defense stout despite numbers

Shoemaker allowed San Angelo Central almost 475 yards in the Bobcats' 21-7 win Thursday, but in the first half, the Grey Wolves' stymied the Bobcats.

Size-wise, Shoemaker's front- seven defenders were overmatched by Central's big-boy offensive line, but the Grey Wolves still allowed the Bobcats just 91 rushing yards on 21 attempts in the first half.

So Central went to the air for the bulk of its offensive success in the first two quarters, completing 14 of 16 passes for 132 yards. Still, the Bobcats led just 7-0 at halftime.

Belton 'D' back?

The Belton defense was much maligned a year ago.

Two years ago, though, it was dominant. Saturday against Richmond Foster, the Tigers looked to be almost back on track. The Tigers held the Falcons to 3.5 yards per rush and a 48 percent completion percentage on 23 pass attempts.

More importantly, outside of a touchdown late in the fourth quarter - that was as much the offense's fault as the defense's thanks to a costly interception - the Tigers held Foster scoreless and only allowed four first downs in the second half.

By the numbers

5 - Ellison turnovers in the Eagles' 28-14 loss to Killeen. The Roos scored three touchdowns off the takeaways, including a 36-yard interception return for a score.

49 - Plays run by the Shoemaker offense in its 21-7 loss to San Angelo Central. Conversely, the Bobcats ran 38 in the first half alone, and 61 total.

113 - Yards allowed by Killeen's defense through the first three quarters of the Roos' wins over Ellison.

35-28 - Rushing attempts versus passing attempts by Belton against Richmond Foster, proving the Tigers will be more balanced this season.

7 - Yards Cove gained on two of its final three possessions as Carroll scored two late touchdowns.

248 - Combined rushing yards by senior tailback Marvin Jackson and quarterback C.J. Rodriguez against Georgetown.

Up next

Shoemaker (0-1) at Killeen (1-0), Friday at Leo Buckley Stadium - Neither offense really sparkled in their Week Zero debuts and will be hard-pressed again this week to show much improvement against the other's stout defense.

Copperas Cove (0-1) at Waco (1-0), Friday at Waco ISD Stadium - This longtime rivalry has been one-sided lately, but looks more intriguing after Week Zero. Cove lost a season opener for the first time since 1990, while Waco beat Austin High 52-35, getting 327 yards rushing and six touchdowns from Darrell Harris.

Austin High (0-1) at Belton (1-0), Friday at Tiger Stadium - Last season this was a high-scoring affair with the teams combining for 129 points. The focus will be on stopping Cayleb Jones, who went off on Belton last season.

Cedar Park Vista Ridge at Harker Heights, Thursday at Leo Buckley Stadium - The Knights hope to reverse their turnover trend in a game that was one of their worst last season as four second-quarter turnovers ultimately doomed the Knights.

Alex Byington and Nick Talbot contributed to this report.

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