Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Connection through the air

Football duo continues success a year after arrival

Junior quarterback Cole Welliver can launch a football 50 yards down the field with his rocket arm, hitting receivers in stride. Senior wide receiver Ashton Cozart can turn any play into a touchdown with his burning speed, leaving defenders trailing behind him.

As individuals their talent and abilities can work on most teams, but together, their football connection has been unmatched.

Cole and Ashton became friends back in the sixth grade playing 7 on 7 together. The two lived in Washington state at the time, but never got to play together because they’ve always been a grade apart.

When Ashton attended Kennedy Catholic High School his freshman year, Cole was one year away from joining him.

However, the pandemic cut the season early, robbing them of that chance.

Ashton and his family then moved to North Richland Hills, Texas his sophomore year. While Cole finished his freshman year at Kennedy Catholic but never got to play due to the pandemic.

Neither situation worked out for the duo.

Junior quarterback Cole Welliver handed the ball off to junior running back Ben Perlmutter. Cole completed 19 passes on 30 attempts for 225 yards and one touchdown against the Trinity Trojans on Sept. 9. (Jayni Gogineni)

Cole and his family moved down to Texas ready to take on 6A football. Ashton on the other hand, transferred high schools in search of more of an opportunity to play. Exploring all their options, Cole and his family decided on coming to Flower Mound. Ashton and his family moved there shortly after.

The transition was smooth for both athletes.

“I think the football program is probably the best I’ve been at, and I feel like the culture and the tradition here is second to none,” Ashton said. “I’m blessed to be a part of a powerhouse 6A football team in Texas…It’s a good city. It’s a good school.”

• • •

Finally back together, years since their 7 on 7 days, the two were ready to take on Texas football together in the 2021 season. However, immediately they reached their first obstacle. Cole’s playing time was split with senior Jaxxon Warren, never giving him a consistent amount of time to sync with the rest of the offense.

“It definitely affected my rhythm,” Cole said. “I would go in for a drive and we’d kick a field goal, and then I’d be out for a quarter, two quarters.”

By the third game of the season, Cole played but not to his standards.

“It was just good to get back on the field,” Cole said. “I had played two games, but I knew I was going to come out rough because I hadn’t played football in forever and I was playing Texas 6A football.”

The third game against Keller Central, not a single touchdown was scored in the first quarter. By the second quarter, Jaxxon and the offense had tied the game back up, 7-7 but after Jaxxon threw two incompletions, Cole’s second chance came late in the second quarter.

“Just do the best you can, once you get in.” Cole thought. “You only get two, maybe three drives a game. So when you get in, do the best you can.”
Coming off that sideline, he was ready to strike.

• • •

Cole’s early football life was built upon consistency. From kindergarten to third grade, he threw a football with his dad daily at the nearby bus stop.

“We didn’t miss one day,” Cole said. “That’s how I really got into football.”

From there on, Cole fell in love with the quarterback position and started playing tackle football in the fifth grade. Then in his seventh grade year, he broke his back, missing the entire season.
But in his first game back, he threw five touchdowns. Cole remembers it as the first moment he saw how much growth he’d gone through.

“I could see myself beating other kids out,” Cole said.

It was just good to get back on the field…I knew I was going to come out rough because I hadn’t played football in forever and I was playing Texas 6A football.

— Cole Welliver, 11

The last time he played real football was his eighth grade year and now he needed to bring this game back on track. Accepting the challenge, he confidently jogged back into the huddle.
In his first two plays, Cole connected with Ashton twice. Picking up 18 yards for a struggling offense.

A couple of plays later, the offense moved down the field. Momentum coursed through a newly revitalized homecoming crowd. Only 26 yards away from the endzone. Cole caught the snap with every intent to score. He scanned every option on the field but paid particular attention to one other player.

• • •

Before Cole checked back into the game, Ashton hadn’t made a single catch. But he knew to remain calm, remembering playing against even tougher defenders.

During a practice at Kennedy Catholic, Ashton was a part of a scout team offense matched up against a formidable defense that featured four star cornerback Kieran Collins. Ashton described Kieran as an aggressive, rough defender he hated going against but loved competing with.

Senior wide receiver Ashton Cozart caught 5 receptions for 65 yards and one touchdown against Trinity. Ashton’s one touchdown catch of the game came late in the fourth quarter, from a quick pass that Ashton took for 38 yards before scoring. (Jayni Gogineni)

During that practice, Ashton caught touchdown after touchdown, frustrating Kieran. Eventually a coach noticed and paused practice for Ashton to run one on ones with Kieran.
As a young freshman, Ashton learned quickly how to withstand that level of adversity.

“I was getting beat up. I was getting pressed into the ground. It was horrible,” Ashton said. “But I kind of cherish that moment because it lit a fire in me…So I’d already been through it.”

Back then, Ashton struggled when the pressure was raised. But he wasn’t a freshman anymore.

Now at the game’s largest possible turning point, it was his opportunity to rise to the occasion.

• • •

After the ball was swiftly snapped into Cole’s hands, it took him two seconds to locate Ashton and fire. The ball went soared through the sky, toward the corner of the endzone where Ashton caught it with ease.


Cole and Ashton ended that night having made a statement. Cole threw for 199 yards and 3 touchdowns while completing 81 percent of his passes. Ashton recorded 10 receptions for 176 yards and two TDs, both from Cole.

When it comes to any pass down the field, Ashton trusts Cole’s abilities.

“I know he’s going to make that throw,” Ashton said. “I know he’s got a powerful arm, so I really have to run at full speed to do it and everything kind of clicks.”

The rest of that season, the two had moments where they showcased their connection. But this year, the two have had ample opportunity to show that last year was just a glimpse of what they could accomplish together.

• • •

I feel like with both our confidences…it’s going to be insane. I’m excited to put some points up, I’m excited to win some games.

— Ashton Cozart, 12

But while both Cole and Ashton have managed to remain productive, this year, team success hasn’t come as easily.

The team’s first two non district games were difficult matchups against Highland Park, ranked 19th in the state and Southlake Carroll, ranked 29th nationally.

In the first game, Cole and Ashton connected only twice against Highland Park’s defense, who frequently sent multiple defenders to guard Ashton.

“Playing with Ashton is super fun because of him being who he is…but teams nowadays want to stack a safety on top of him, and then it’s less fun,” Cole said. “I remember the Highland Park game he had triple coverage and the whole game he got two receptions, which was awful.”

The team lost 38-24 but after another loss to Southlake Caroll, 38-7, the duo was finally able to pull out a win against Trinity High School, 30-20. Cole threw for 225 yards and one touchdown, while Ashton caught 65 of those yards and caught the touchdown that put the game out of Trinity’s reach.

With the rest of the season ahead of them, the former Washington and now Texas duo have plenty more chances showcase their connection.

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About the Contributors
Hyunsung Na
Hyunsung Na, Online Editor
Hyunsung Na (he/him) is a senior and this is his third year on staff. He’s ready to teach and do his job. He’s forgotten what he really does but he’ll do it and he’ll do it with spunk. He has plenty of spunk and swag. Outside of school, he works at Learning Express, a toy store, where he does the job of an elf. Wrapping. Restocking. Helping. Elf. 
Jayni Gogineni
Jayni Gogineni, Photographer
Jayni Gogineni (she/her) is a senior and a first year staffer. Her bias is Kim Taehyung from BTS. Her favorite genre of music is R&B and she likes food, especially fried chicken. She also enjoys exquisite drinks such as orange mango Snapple which is always out of stock in Marcus. She’s excited to work in the Marquee this year!

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