“It is when our budding hopes are nipped beyond recovery by some rough wind, that we are the most disposed to picture to ourselves what flowers they might have borne, if they had flourished.” — Charles Dickens, “Dombey and Son”
Things have not gone Harker Heights’ way.
What started with so much hope and excitement has spiraled into a depressed state of wishing for what might have been.
After the first three weeks and two costly, early-season injuries to potential Division I prospects, senior lineman Darius James and junior tailback Marcus Anderson II, the Knights stand winless heading into the pre-district bye week.
While there may be some fans headed for the exits, don’t expect anybody inside the Knights field house to be among them. Not when there’s a full seven-game district slate full of chances to redeem themselves.
Especially when Heights may be getting a big shot in the arm with the return of Anderson, who’s been out since the preseason after suffering a broken left leg in Heights’ final preseason scrimmage.
Expected to miss four to six weeks in recovery, there is still hope that Anderson — last year’s District 12-5A newcomer of the year after rushing for 436 yards and five touchdowns in limited action — could see the field in next Friday’s District 8-5A opener against Belton if he is cleared to play this week.
Of course, even if Anderson comes back 100 percent, he can’t be expected to be a cure-all. If last week’s 10-0 loss to Cedar Park proved anything, it is that Heights needs more than just a quick fix at tailback.
Even with a breakout game from senior scat-back Terance Goodwin, who rushed for 147 yards on 13 carries (for an incredible 11 yard-per-carry average), Heights’ inexperienced offense failed to find the end zone thanks to repeated mistakes.
Through three games, the Knights have turned the ball over 12 times, while only managing to score 10 points. If a turnaround is going to happen, that’s where it’s going to start.
But Heights’ problems might lie deeper. They also need to remember what it takes to win, and win consistently.
In four years under head coach Mike Mullins, the Knights have shown improvement coming from back-to-back one-win seasons before he arrived on campus to finish a respectable 5-5 last season.
It seems, no matter how far they come, the slightest hiccup sets them back.
The biggest hiccup was more like a minor heart attack when the team lost James, who was rated the nation’s No. 1 center.
But if Heights is going to avoid making James’ potentially season-ending injury the reason why it reverted back to district cellar-dweller, it begins next Friday — hopefully coinciding with Anderson’s return.