• August 20, 2014

Soccer teams exciting to watch this year

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 12:00 am

Random musings as district races are either starting up or heating up across the board.

What a fun time to be a local soccer fan.

Not only is the World Cup less than 100 days away, and play in the English Premier League is heating up, but the Harker Heights boys and girls are involved in tight races for the final playoff spot in District 8-5A as well.

The Lady Knights appear to be peaking at the right time, having defeated Killeen and Ellison by a combined score of 8-0 in their last two games.

Freshman Gracie Grimm was sensational in both games, scoring six goals in that span.

But Heights, currently ahead of Ellison points-wise for fourth place, will need to continue that level of play if it wants to reach the playoffs with Ellison in hot pursuit.

The Lady Knights close out the season with Temple and Waco Midway, both playoff teams, and will be best served to win both.

But even Lady Knight head coach Jared Cruddas agreed that if they continue to play like they’ve played the last two games that task is more than doable.

The Heights boys soccer team finds itself in nearly the exact same situation after a shootout victory against Ellison.

A regulation or overtime victory has been elusive for the Knights of lately, but two straight shootout victories has them on the edge of a playoff berth all the same.

Now, if Heights can finally add one to the win column, combined with an Ellison loss, the Knights and first-year head coach Ryan Flanigan will be heading to the postseason despite a host of injuries that nearly unraveled the team early in league play.

Belton has a new head football coach and athletic director, and it isn’t hard to see why the Tigers are excited.

Not even four years ago, new head coach Bob Shipley was competing for a state championship at Brownwood, where he compiled a 39-14 record before leaving to serve as an analyst in the player personnel department under former Texas head coach Mack Brown.

Shipley said he missed the high school game last year, and while he was excited to begin working under new head coach Charlie Strong this season, the opportunity to take over at Belton was impossible to pass over.

Unlike notable stops at Brownwood and Burnet, Shipley won’t have one of his sons playing for him at Belton, like he did when Jordan, a former Texas and NFL wide receiver, played at Burnet and Jaxon, a senior receiver at Texas, played at Brownwood.

But either way, Belton replaced a good coach in Rodney Southern, now at Huntsville, with a good coach in Shipley.

Also, be on the lookout the next two Sundays for the Killeen Daily Herald’s All-Area boys and girls basketball teams.

Heights was prominently featured on both teams in a testament to the success the Knights and Lady Knights experienced.

The girls will run Sunday, and the boys a week later, so hope you enjoy.

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