COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove Bulldawgs fell to the Shoemaker Grey Wolves 41-17 Friday during their Military Appreciation game in Bulldawg Stadium.

New head coach Jason Hammett was still proud of his team’s efforts, especially at the beginning of the game.

“We came out and stopped those guys pretty good on defense and then on offense, moved the ball, had a few missed cues on offense that got us,” Hammett said.

The score was very close at the end of the first half and the Bulldawgs were 20 yards away from scoring, but they slipped up, fumbling the ball. Shoemaker’s defense capitalized on their mistake, running the ball back to their endzone for a touchdown, giving the Grey Wolves momentum at halftime.

“The last play (in the first half), I had was a little trick play and we weren’t able to execute … and after that our momentum went down,” Hammett said. “They are a good team, but we’re a good team too, and that’s what my message is to my team, is that if we want to move in the right direction, playing teams like Shoemaker is what we need to do.”

Hammett said the Bulldawgs will simply focus on themselves to prepare for this week’s game against the Killeen Kangaroos.

“We’ve got to focus on us and what we need to do to get better,” Hammett said. “We’ll play Killeen High next week, and they’re a good team too. Every one of these Killeen schools has got tremendous athletes and size too. Our defensive line lines up and they play their butts off … same thing on the other side of the ball. We need to be able to move the ball on them and be able to execute on the passing game.”

Despite the loss, Hammett was very happy to play a game to honor service members, even if the celebration wasn’t as big as last year’s, due to COVID-19.

“Last year, we had a really big presentation … Because of COVID-19, we weren’t able to do that. So we focused this evening on honoring our veterans. We’ve got nine veterans in our athletic department. I’ve got coaches and grounds crew members and custodians that have served in the military,” Hammett said. “Every day when I see them work, I can see their service to our country, and I’m extremely proud to have them as members of my team. So, we really honored those people tonight. I wish we could do more, but they’re really great people.”

The Bulldawgs will take on the Killeen Rowdy Roos, Friday in Leo Buckley Stadium at 7:30 p.m.