5 things about Copperas Cove

Lake Travis vs Copperas Cove: Five things to watch

· Handy Manny

Last week Lake Travis’ defense faced Waco Midway quarterback Ben Hicks, the second leading returning passer in 6A. This week they face Harris, the leading returning passer. According to Copperas Cove’s football website, Harris passed for 3,830 yards and 37 touchdowns last year. One thing the Cavaliers have working for them: they aren’t A&M Consolidated. In two career games against Consol, Harris has put up out-of-this-world numbers: 1,019 yards and eight touchdowns while completing nearly 67 percent of his passes. Harris can run as well. He’s committed to play at UT-San Antonio.

· The last great Cove QB

Though he isn’t as tall or as fast, Harris brings to mind the last highly regarded quarterback from Copperas Cove, some guy named Griffin. Harris’ numbers far surpass that of the other great Cove quarterback, but he made a name for himself nonetheless. Robert Griffin III went on to revitalize the program at Baylor, where he won the 2011 Heisman Trophy, before becoming the second pick in the 2012 NFL draft by the Washington Redskins, who he promptly led into the playoffs as a rookie, when he earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

· Putting the D in Defense (or taking it out)

With Harris running a high-powered attack – the Bulldawgs put up 850 yards of offense in last week’s win over A&M Consolidated – Copperas Cove can score with anyone. Last season Cove averaged 44 points per game, and it is off and running in 2014, scoring 62 on Consol. Trouble is Cove gives up points at nearly the same rate: 36 per game in 2013 and 38 in the opener. Five times in 2013, opponents scored 42 points or more on the Cove defense.

· One more step

From 2006-2008, Cove had one of the best runs in its history. Jack Welch’s teams posted a 37-8 record over those years. The 2006 team reached the state semifinals, while the 2007 and 2008 teams reached the 4A, Division I title games. The Bulldawgs haven’t advanced past the second round since.

· Coaching Stability

It’s no secret that coaching stability can contribute to success, and nowhere is a better example than Cove. Dr. Jack Welch is in his 21st year at the helm, his staff, give or take a few newcomers, has largely been in tact going back to the early 2000s. Seven of his assistants have been on the staff for at least 13 years. In 18 of the 20 years Welch has been in charge, the Dawgs have finished better than .500, including every year since 1998.