By Jon Garrett
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE With just over a month before the start of football season, Copperas Cove offensive lineman Roberto Davis looks like he is ready for some pancakes.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pound tackle, who was credited with 38 pancake blocks and did not allow a sack last season on his way to earning a spot on the Class 5A all-state first team as a junior, looked to be in prime condition as he won three-of-five events to rack up 48 points and take the individual overall title at the Bulldawgs' lineman challenge and 7-on-7 tournament on Friday at Bulldawg Stadium.
Victories in the shuttle run (4.07 seconds), sled pull (4.92) and weight carry (13.3) gave Davis the edge over teammate Gene Tijing who finished second with a total of 44 points with wins in the bench press (11 repetitions at 205 pounds) and the tire flip (10.5). The Bulldawgs' Jesse Montgomery finished third (40).
For Davis, being named top-lineman in the competition was a reward for the work he has put in this offseason.
"It feels good. We (linemen) work hard in the summer," Davis said. "It's good to come out here and compete with other people."
And the work has paid off. In the weeks since school has ended the already powerful Davis has increased his power clean by 35 pounds to 275 pounds and he currently squats 420 pounds.
Impressive numbers for a guy that could have easily taken the summer off after achieving so much as a junior.
"The coaches are really getting on me hard and making sure I keep my mind straight," said Davis, who will play both ways this season, when asked about how he stays motivated to improve. "It's really hard (playing both sides of the ball). I have to keep moving. The coaches are giving me water nonstop."
Cove dominated the junior varsity division of the challenge as well with Steven Burke amassing 42 points to take top honors, followed by Quentin Posey, who finished in second with 38.5 points. Shoemaker's Mike Burtrum took third (34.5).
Dawgs' offensive line coach Vance McAnally organized the event which featured about 17 athletes from Cove, Shoemaker and Ellison to give the linemen a way to compete instead of having to hang on the sidelines during 7-on-7.
"We want to get the linemen involved and get them out there competing," McAnally said. "Shoemaker and Ellison really put an emphasis on this as well. Anytime there is a lineman challenge in this area Copperas Cove, Shoemaker and Ellison are going to be there. We enjoy it and the kids enjoy it."
The Dawgs' state-bound 7-on-7 squad did not find much to enjoy, however, during their part of the competition.
Cove, without starters Dionte Farley, Jonathan Woods and Donald Buckram, finished the day 1-2.
"Our past few tournaments have been canceled and we were a little rusty," said Dawgs' 7-on-7 faculty advisor Ryan Bailey of the team's performance, which saw it lose to Killeen in the opener and mount a come-from-behind victory over Ellison before falling to Shoemaker in its final game. "Our timing wasn't there and that was a big thing."
Bailey added the team, which heads to the state tournament at Texas A&M next Friday, called a practice on its own to work on the problems it had at the tourney to be held Monday at 8 p.m.
One team that did not have any problems finding a way to win was Shoemaker. The Grey Wolves cruised throughout the event undefeated at 3-0, including a 14-6 win over Cove in the final game of the day.
Shoemaker volunteer coach Greg Garrett said that his team didn't have a lot of practice before the tournament, but went to the zone defensively and shut down the other teams.
"It's just great to beat their (Copperas Cove's) playoff team," Garrett said. "I'm happy for the kids."
Grey Wolves sophomore quarterback T.J. Jennings, who had touchdown passes to Jamal Skipper and Chris Poullard in the win against the Dawgs, said Shoemaker came out and did what it needed to do.
"We stepped up," Jennings said. "I'm just ready for the real season now."
Killeen finished the day 2-1 and the Eagles went winless at 0-3, though they did not lose a game by more than six points.
Contact Jon Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org