Terance Goodwin felt the urge. So did the Harker Heights defense.
Unfortunately, neither urge was enough to help the Knights find the end zone Friday as Cedar Park weathered the storm and eked out a 10-0 victory at Leo Buckley Stadium.
Goodwin started the game with back-to-back 16-yard gains and finished with 147 of Heights’ 153 rushing yards on 13 carries. The Knights senior tailback could have had an even bigger night if a 72-yard touchdown run on his third rush early in the second quarter wasn’t called back for a blocking penalty.
“It feels like we keep clicking and clicking and clicking, and then we have a mess-up. We’ve got to keep clicking without the mess-ups,” Goodwin said. “We could have had a lot of points on the board, we’ve just got to cut out all the mistakes.”
The penalty negated Goodwin’s touchdown, but he was still credited with a 21-yard gain that pushed Heights back into a first-and-4 situation with 10:26 left in the second. But then the Knights (0-3) committed their third false start of the first half and couldn’t find a groove, punting three plays later.
“We’d get some sparks and be in third-and-short, which is manageable, and then we’d have some false starts, and those are things we’ve got to correct,” Knights coach Mike Mullins said.
Heights finished with 193 total yards and eight first downs on offense but were kept in the game by an attacking defense that sacked the Timberwolves’ quarterbacks four times and forced two fumbles. Senior linebacker Naashon Hughes, who is committed to Texas, led the way with two sacks and a forced fumble.
“Our defense, they’re doing their part. On offense, we’re just not getting rolling,” Goodwin said. “Honestly, we should be 3-0 and going into this bye week 3-0.”
The first of those fumbles resulted in a turnover on a goal-line stand when Heights linebacker Jonte Burton stood up Cedar Park’s Chris Hutchings at the 1-yard line and safety Tyrel Stokes stripped the ball away at the line.
Backed up into the shadow of his own end zone, Knights sophomore quarterback Troy Smith had nowhere to go when he rolled right and was sacked by a host of Timberwolves for a safety with 4:48 to play in the second.
“We got pinned back as far as we could go and of course we were just trying to get out of there and they bull-rushed us and got two points,” Mullins said.
Cedar Park (1-2) wouldn’t be stopped a second time, taking advantage of an 11-yard fake punt run by Lane Waller on fourth-and-5 to extend a 12-play scoring drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown run from fullback Thomas Middleton.
With a two-point run by Hutchings, who battled for 104 yards on 23 carries to lead a 219-yard rushing performance by the Timberwolves, Cedar Park pulled ahead 10-0 with 47 seconds remaining in the first half.
“We have the safety, and then we come out and get the ball on the kickoff and we miss a couple of things here and there when we have a chance to score. We’ve just got to do a better job on offense of bearing down and getting some points,” Mullins said.
Heights had back-to-back red zone opportunities to open the second half after Keith Herbert recovered the opening kickoff at Cedar Park’s 30-yard line, but junior quarterback Damion May was intercepted by Waller on a fourth-and-5. It was May’s seventh interception this season.
On the next drive, after a Hughes sack of Timberwolves quarterback Nate Grimm forced a punt, the Knights drove to the Cedar Park 20 but junior kicker Austin Rhoden hit the right upright on a 37-yard field goal attempt.
“I thought we had some sparks on offense that will hopefully carry over in two weeks and we’ll see what happens,” Mullins said.