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Dawg fighting: former teammates square off

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Posted: Friday, September 2, 2011 4:21 am

WACO — On a night best known for high school football in Texas, four former teammates will square off in opposition.

When No. 14 TCU renews its recently rekindled rivalry against Baylor tonight in front of a national audience on ESPN, Floyd Casey Stadium will have a Friday Night Lights feel to it thanks to a quartet of former Copperas Cove Bulldawgs.

“It’s a clash of the former high school teammates, so might as well do it on Friday night, right?” Baylor’s star quarterback Robert Griffin joked. “It’s exciting — on national TV — it’ll be a good stage for both teams. We’re looking forward to it.”

Strategically sporting a pair of Cookie Monster socks, the ex-Dawgs quarterback spoke with a small group of reporters for more than 20 minutes on Monday, touching on everything from last season’s 45-10 “wake-up call” from TCU to his relationship with a trio of Horned Frogs.

Logan Brock, a senior tight end, Tanner Brock, a junior linebacker, sophomore receiver Josh Boyce and Griffin all played major roles during a three-year run from 2006-08 when Copperas Cove was at the pinnacle of its gridiron success.

Boyce and the Brock brothers weren’t made available for comment in the weeks leading up to tonight’s game.

Last year, the quartet of former Bulldawgs in the game was joined by a fifth, free safety Tim Atchison, who’s now trying to earn a roster spot with the St. Louis Rams. There could be a fifth again tonight if true freshman defensive lineman Trevor Clemons-Valdez, who graduated from Cove in January, sees any playing time.

“I just think it’s an honor for our program, for our town, this whole area — Killeen and Copperas Cove. I just think that’s an honor to Central Texas football,” Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch said.

Beginning in 2006, when a junior Griffin beat out then-senior Logan Brock for the starting quarterback spot, the Bulldawgs rolled to the first of back-to-back Division I-4A state championship appearances, Cove’s only in school history.

Tanner Brock, a starting linebacker as a sophomore, was in the first of three first-team all-state campaigns while Logan Brock was an all-state performer at tight end and Boyce was Griffin’s deep threat.

Even after Griffin moved on to Baylor in 2008, Boyce and Tanner Brock put together all-state senior seasons while helping lead Cove to it’s third-straight semifinal appearance in its first season back in 5A.

Given all the history the quartet were apart of in Cove, tonight’s mini-reunion has given Griffin mixed emotions — especially after the Tanner Brock-led Horned Frogs defense limited him to just 185 yards of total offense last year.

“It’s just crazy because you never see one player playing against three of his old teammates — two of which were big parts of his offense in high school,” Griffin said. “So it’s just a crazy feeling (playing against them). You know when to stop talking.”

But, as Baylor’s Heisman hopeful was quick to point out, any old allegiances get thrown out the window at kickoff.

“It’s the competitive nature of the game. Although once we were all teammates, now we’re not. Like I said, ‘Once a Dawg, always a Dawg,’ but that doesn’t help me when I’ve got a BU on my helmet and you have a TCU on your’s,” he said.

The game has also put a tentative hold on his brotherly bond with Boyce, a childhood friend from their days playing church-league basketball at Cove’s Christian House of Prayer,

Coming out of high school, Griffin tried to recruit Boyce to Baylor, and even had a standing committal from his friend if the Bears ever offered a scholarship. But that never came and now Boyce is TCU’s No. 1 pass catcher, leading the Horned Frogs with 646 receiving yards last season.

“I knew Josh was going to be great, and when he committed to TCU, I told him to go and do big things,” Griffin said. “... Do I want him to catch touchdowns against us? No. Do I want him to play well every other game? Yeah.

“But this game’s not about childhood friends or high school teammates — it’s about Baylor and TCU.”Contact Alex Byington at alexb@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7566.

 

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