AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: PREVIEW CAPSULES FOR TEMPLE AND SALADO
By GREG WILLE
– DISTRICT 12-6A –
TEMPLE WILDCATS (2-1) at
COPPERAS COVE BULLDAWGS (1-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Bulldawg Stadium
Last week: Arlington Martin 43, Class 5A Division I No. 23-ranked Temple 25; Copperas Cove 41, Granbury 22
Last year: Temple 55, Copperas Cove 17
Game notes: Temple got through its challenging three-game non-district gauntlet with a 27-point win over Longview in Arlington, a 15-point victory at Magnolia West and last Friday's error-filled 18-point loss to Arlington Martin in the Wildcats' home opener. With those three opponents currently a combined 7-3, head coach Scott Stewart's Temple squad should be prepared for what awaits in its seven-game District 12-6A schedule, beginning tonight at Copperas Cove. . . . Having played mostly well on offense and defense against Martin, Temple has to make improving its special teams performance play its top priority. The Warriors produced three touchdowns off two long kickoff returns and an errant punt snap by the Wildcats. . . . Temple senior quarterback Humberto Arizmendi is set for his first district start after passing for 553 yards and seven TDs (against two interceptions) in his first three career starts. . . . Wildcats junior Samari Howard rushed for 173 yards and a touchdown against Martin – pushing his season totals to 304 yards and three scores – as Temple continued to improve its running game. . . . Sophomore linebacker Taurean York leads the Wildcats with 33 tackles (23 unassisted), and senior cornerback Keon Williams and junior safety Jaden Jackson have 17 stops each. Seven other Temple defenders have compiled at least 10 tackles. . . . Jason Hammett is in his first season as Copperas Cove's head coach, having been promoted from assistant head coach after Jack Alvarez left for Cuero following two seasons as the Bulldawgs' boss. Cove was roughed up by Waxahachie and Georgetown in its first two games but responded to give Hammett his first win in last week's thorough 41-22 victory over Granbury. . . . Junior QB Shane Richey has passed for 354 yards and two TDs and rushed for 182 yards and three TDs. . . . The Dawgs have a pair of effective senior running backs in Brandon Ortega (254 yards, one TD) and Brody Sanders (127, two). . . . Russel Cochran struggled at quarterback in last year's blowout loss at Temple, throwing three interceptions, but the senior has 113 receiving yards this year. . . . Senior linebacker Kendall Parker paces Cove with 23 tackles and junior linebacker Benny Shumaker has 16 stops. . . . Temple, which lost 22-18 at Copperas Cove in the 2018 regular-season finale, will play its first home district game next Friday against Bryan at Wildcat Stadium.
– DISTRICT 9-4A DIVISION II –
No. 6 CHINA SPRING COUGARS (6-0, 2-0)
at No. 10 SALADO EAGLES (6-1, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Eagle Stadium
Last week: Class 4A Division II No. 6-ranked China Spring 58, Gatesville 27; Salado 20, Waco Connally 15
Game notes: Week 8 brings an appealing showdown of District 9-4A Division II co-leaders and state-ranked teams as Salado hosts China Spring. The winner will be alone in the league lead at night's end. . . . After blowing out Gatesville to begin district two weeks ago, head coach Alan Haire's Eagles earned a grueling road victory a week ago at Connally. Meanwhile, coach Brian Bell's Cougars encountered little resistance in their first two district outings, defeating Jarrell and Gatesville by a combined score of 110-47. . . . Salado and China Spring are one game ahead of third-place teams Jarrell and Connally. . . . The Eagles will challenge the Cougars' defense with their customary Slot-T rushing attack (385.3 rushing yards per game) that distributes the wealth and takes advantage of solid blocking up front. Noah Mescher leads Salado with 1,042 yards and 14 touchdowns, fellow senior Reid Vincent has 746 yards and five TDs and the Eagles also get valuable contributions from senior Wrook Brown (308 yards, eight TDs) and sophomore Caden Strickland (414 yards, eight TDs). . . . Six Salado defenders have made at least 42 tackles: Brown, Kofi Stoglin, Lucas Morvant, Josh Huckabee, Peyton Miller and LaTrell Jenkins. . . . A Salado defense that's allowed 279.6 yards per game will be challenged by a China Spring attack that features two talented runners in Emmanuel Abdallah (1,148 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns) and Major Bowden (614, seven). . . . The Cougars have scored at least 35 points every game and average 50.3. Salado averages 40.9 points per game.