By Alex Byington
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Vondareaz King isn't as big as Brandon Hamilton or as electric as Orlando Thomas.
But, the rising junior tailback had Copperas Cove coach Jack Welch singing his praises Thursday after the annual Blue-Gold game.
"I'm glad he's on my team," Welch said. "I'm glad we have him because I think he's got a good talent and we expect a lot out of him."
King, who took a majority of the first-team snaps at running back, showed flashes of being the Bulldawgs' next big playmaker after racking up 145 yards of total offense (both rushing and on kick returns) and two touchdowns as Cove closed out spring practice at Bulldawg Stadium.
While the offense was working in three quarterbacks in an attempt to fill the hole left by the departure of Thomas, now a freshman defensive back at Texas, it was King who seemed to get things going offensively.
"Whatever our offense can do, we're going to move around, maneuver around and get done," King said.
Rushing 10 times for 66 yards, King steadily moved the ball up field, even after he was stopped cold in his tracks.
After both the first- and second-team offenses were stuffed on their opening series, King found the end zone despite running into a wall of Bulldawg defenders, spinning to his right before breaking loose down the left sideline for a 29-yard touchdown on the first-team's second possession.
Along with King, the Bulldawgs also have returning letterman Chans Colbert at running back, though the rising senior didn't see much action Thursday, only catching a lone 8-yard pass.
"I feel good at the running back position, I think we're pretty solid," Welch said.
Rising senior quarterback Robbie Seybold, a converted receiver who worked exclusively with the first-team, finished 9-of-14 for 100 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Rising junior Drew Dewald, who was splitting second team reps with Nick Deprisco, actually had the best night passing, completing 6-of-10 passes for 117 yards.
It included the biggest play of the day when Dewald uncorked a 67-yard bomb into the waiting hands of Hunter McVeigh on a third-and-13 situation on the offense's sixth possession. Backup running back Trent Canion then busted into the end zone from 4 yards out on the ensuing play to score just the second touchdown of the evening.
"I think they're getting better, but that's one of the areas of growth that we need to get better with fast," Welch said of his quarterback play, "because the season's on us."
While the Bulldawgs' first- and second-team defense held firm through the first few series, ending two of the first five drives on turnovers - including a sack-and-strip of Seybold by defensive lineman Loranta White - the offense found its groove after Canion's score, finding the end zone on three of its next four possessions.
One of those was a lofting 24-yard strike from Seybold to favorite receiver Rashaun Gibson for the first-team offense's third score. On the next offensive series, Dewald orchestrated an 11-play scoring drive that ended on a 17-yard bootleg run to the left for himself.
Not to be outdone, the Dawgs defense responded as first-team linebacker Karim Sarhani stepped in front of a Seybold pass and returned it 33 yards for the defense's lone score.
Not that there weren't plenty of defensive stops, including a pair of sacks from defensive lineman JJ Lemmon and another from Miles Stanton.
"Today, I thought it was pretty even," Welch said. "Defensively at the start, I thought they had the upper hand and offensively, I don't know if they ever got the upper hand, I thought they moved the ball fairly well."