Still searching for its first win, Harker Heights can seemingly draw inspiration from how it performed in this situation last season, when the winless Knights toppled an unbeaten Belton team to move to 1-0 in District 8-5A.
Except the Knights, who visit Belton in both teams’ district opener tonight, aren’t looking in the rearview, not even for positive memories like that one.
“We haven’t really looked about the past, we’re not about what’s the past — we’re all looking forward,” Heights coach Jerry Edwards said. “We’re not even dwelling on the last three games that we played.
“We told the kids that it’s a clean slate,” he continued. “Both teams are 0-0 as far as we’re concerned.”
Heights and Belton, of course, are 0-3 after nondistrict competition, only heightening the sense of urgency as both teams search for not only a first win but a district-opening win as well.
“I know they’re 0-3, but even if they were 3-0 it doesn’t matter to us,” Edwards said. “It’s the first district game, and you want to start out district with a win, you want to start out in district on top, especially in this district. Wins don’t come easy, so you’ve got to stay focused and treat every opponent with the utmost respect.”
Of its three losses, Heights suffered its biggest loss in its last game, a 41-20 defeat at the hands of Round Rock.
Yet coming off of a bye, Edwards said he feels his team is ready to change its fortunes on the eve of district play.
“I think the kids kind of know what they’re going to do in and out. We feel good about the gameplan, the coaches feel good about the gameplan,” Edwards said. “I think the kids are very confident in what they can accomplish, so having that extra week, we used it to our advantage, so we’re excited about Friday’s game.”
Edwards said against Belton, stopping the run, particularly the zone read, will be important while handling the Tiger blitz out of the 3-3 stack will be key on offense.
“(We have to) pay attention to details,” Edwards said. “We can’t hurt ourselves, and I think we’ve got to do a good job of consistently moving the football on offense,”
Heights is averaging a healthy 29.3 points per game on offense but giving up 42.7 points per game on defense.
Edwards knows his defense will have to improve on that stat if Heights hopes to pick up its first win of the season in Belton.
But after an extra week of preparation, Edwards was only focused on what lies ahead, and he was confident his team can improve.
“Defensively, we’ve got to play better,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to be on point, on key. We’ve got to know what all 11 guys are doing, and we’ve got to get some stops, and I think our defense is up to that challenge.”