Rowlett holds off Copperas Cove to advance

ARLINGTON, Texas – Mesquite Horn learned not to let Copperas Cove stay in a game the hard way last week, losing 48-47 in the 5A Division II bi-district round.

Rowlett refused to give Copperas Cove the same chance Friday by successfully running a reverse on fourth-and-1 near midfield with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. That risky call not only picked up the first down, but it moved the ball deep into Copperas Cove territory, leading to a 24-yard field goal and a 48-38 area-round win.

At first, Rowlett tried unsuccessfully to draw Copperas Cove offside on the fourth-and-1. After a timeout, Rowlett sent out the punt team, which would have given Copperas Cove the ball with a seven-point deficit. Instead, Rowlett coach Kiff Hardin used his second timeout to implement the surprise play.

Out of the pistol, quarterback Grant Bothun faked the handoff to halfback Jalen Rhodes and hit Corey Chappell with a pitch has he ran a jet sweep that wouldn’t end until he was brought down at the Copperas Cove 10-yard line.

Rhodes was an effective decoy on the play after scoring two touchdowns in the second half on runs of 4 and 7 yards.

Bothun accounted for three of Rowlett’s touchdowns through the air. His best came on a 34-yard fade to Rashid Turner, who had beaten his defender badly on the line of scrimmage, leaving him wide open down field.

Rowlett (8-4) and Copperas Cove (10-2) traded blows from the second quarter to the fourth, with the Eagles leading 37-31 after three quarters.

Copperas Cove carried momentum into the fourth after Brandon Hamilton took a Rowlett kickoff 100 yards for a score to bring his team to within six.

Copperas Cove fumbled halfway through the fourth, which lead to the second of Rhodes' touchdown runs, and then threw an interception with 39 seconds left in the game to end any hope of a comeback.

Rowlett advances to face the Spring Westfield-Leander winner in the regional round of the 5A Division II playoffs.