Elks face test at Cove
A year ago, Burleson went into its season-opener with Kansas City Schlagle with little or no knowledge about the Stallions.
That isn’t the case this season as the Elks open the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Copperas Cove.
The Bulldawgs are a Class 6A Central Texas power. Cove returns five starters each on offense and defense from a team that went 7-4 last season and lost in the opening round of the playoffs to eventual Class 6A Division state champion Longview, 70-22.
Cove works out of the Wing-T from a shotgun look and likes use multiple formations in hopes of confusing defenses.
“Our defense is going to have to account for everyone on the field,” Burleson coach Gary McElroy said. “We can’t get out of alignment. Part of their game plan is to try and formation you, get you out of alignment and expose it. That will be a key defensively, to know where all those parts are and line up properly.”
The Bulldawgs top threats on offense are running back Micha Cox and receiver Jahmeel Rice. Last season, Cox rushed for 817 yards and nine touchdowns while Cox tallied 495 yards receiving and seven scores.
Cove’s defense is led by linebacker Nate David and cornerback Jerome Gaillard. Just like Burleson, the Bulldawgs runs a 4-3 defense, which is a bonus according to McElroy.
“What we are going to see Friday is not something that isn’t uncommon to us,” McElroy said. “Our offense predominantly faced a 4-3 most of the spring.”
As is the case in almost all football games, turnovers, penalties and field position could be the deciding factors Friday night.
One thing McElroy wants against Cove is his defense forcing the Bulldawgs to make long drives to score.
“We can’t give up big plays for touchdowns,” McElroy said. “We have to make them earn their points.”
On the flip side, McElroy would be pleased to see his offense putting together long scoring marches that keep his defense and the Cove offense on the sideline.
“If we can do that we will be in good shape,” McElroy said.
McElroy said the Elks have to move the ball consistently on offense.
“If they are giving us the run we have to be able to run the ball,” McElroy said. “And if they are giving us the pass we have to be able to throw the ball effectively.”
Last Friday, the Elks scrimmaged against Birdville at the Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex. The Hawks enter the season ranked 10th in Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine’s Class 5A Division I poll,
McElroy was pleased with his team’s effort. The Elks scored once in the live quarter of play and didn’t allow the Hawks to score.
“They did a good job,” McElroy said. “Our kids know that Birdville is ranked up there in the preseason polls so they were pretty excited about coming out on top in the live quarter.”
McElroy said the starting defense did well.
“They played hard, physical and fast which is what we wanted,” McElroy said.
Quarterback Blake Myers scored on a 70-yard run on the first play of the controlled scrimmage and he threw a touchdown pass in the live scrimmage.
Running backs Caleb Lewis and Jarrett Austin played major roles on another score in the controlled scrimmage. Lewis took a short pass from Myers and broke free for a 20-yard gain to the Hawks 1. From there, Austin scored on a short run.
The Elks are looking for big things from Myers, Lewis, and Austin on Friday night and the rest of the season.