Print and Go Back ESPN.com: High School [Print without images]

Friday, November 11, 2011
Horn, Copperas Cove becoming familiar foes

By Travis L. Brown

Saturday will mark the third almost-annual bi-district affair – Mesquite Horn vs. Copperas Cove.

Of course, no one plans what has become a football playoff staple as of late, but the cards have fallen just right for Horn and Copperas Cove to face each other in the 5A Division II bi-district round for the third time in four years.

This year is the rubber match.

Copperas Cove won the first bout in 2008 in a hard-fought, close battle. Horn got its revenge last season in blowout fashion, 48-10 in Stephenville.

Two very different teams than those that fought in years past will take the field at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium at 1 p.m., but Horn coach Rodney Webb said he doesn’t see much difference in the top-caliber talent Copperas Cove turns out year after year.

“They’re a good program, which means they are good every year.” Webb said. “They are one of those teams that just replace, and the guys that are playing for them this year look physically just like the guys that were playing in 2008.”

“You wonder sometimes if they are playing seventh- or eighth-year seniors,” Webb joked.

While Copperas Cove’s reboot in quality talent might be intimidating on the field, it makes for easier game planning for a team with which Horn is very familiar. Webb said the amount of game tape they have against Copperas Cove rivals that which they have for most of their long-time district rivals.

“You develop a familiarity for a team,” Webb said. “It’s almost like a regular-season opponent for us. We have so much film on that last year and this year, it’s like we’ve watched them progress through the seasons. There won’t be a lot of surprises.”

The same doesn’t go for Webb’s Horn team. He said they have made a point not to look back at past Horn teams to game plan for this year’s squad, which, unlike last year’s state quarterfinal team, has played lots of close games.  Seven out of Horn’s ten regular-season games were decided in the last drive of the game.

Separating each season is a lesson Webb said he learned the hard way seven years ago when he was coaching in Royse City.

“The 2004 team went to the state finals and the 2005 team we tried to make a cookie cutter and it was a mistake,” Webb said. “We got beat in the first round of the playoffs. Each team is unique and will write its own story and this team will write its own story.”

Webb believes this will be another close game that goes down to the wire.

“We do feel good that, if it’s a close game, we have enough confidence in ourself to pull it out,” Webb said.