Football: Killeen v. Vandegrift

Killeen’s Daniel McCants, right, celebrates with teammate T’Mond Johnson after scoring a touchdown Friday against Leander Vandegrift.

For the second consecutive week, Manny Harris impressed.

After completing 34 of 51 passes for 516 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity start, Copperas Cove’s quarterback compiled an equally remarkable showing in a 70-24 dismantling of Waco. Harris was 27-of-42 passing 336 yards with five touchdowns to help even the Bulldawgs’ record at 1-1.

Just two weeks into his junior season, the future looks extremely promising for Harris, who set school records for passing attempts (51) and yards (516) against the Tigers, to become one of the most prolific passers in Bulldawgs’ history.

“I’ve had several (great quarterbacks in my career),” Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had anybody do it better, so he is definitely doing it as well (as them), if not better.”

With 852 passing yards already accumulated, Harris has thrown for 42 percent of the school-record 2,007 set by Robert Griffin III in 2006. Depending on how he finishes the season, he could be well on his way toward the career mark of 4,397 yards set by Josh Welch from 2001 to 2003.

A byproduct of Harris’ success is his receivers thrive as well, especially Phillip Baptiste.

The senior caught 13 passes for 256 yards in the season opener for an unofficial school record considering the prior school record for passing yards in a game was 293 and only two quarterbacks ever amassed more than 256 yards in a game. He followed that up with an eight-reception, 132-yard showing against Waco (1-1).

Baptiste passed the credit on to his offensive linemen, though.

“They came in the summer and worked every day with no days off, and they came out,” he said. “People were doubting our line, saying they were too small. They’ve come out and proved people wrong.”

Like Harris, Baptiste is having a potentially record-breaking season. Through two games, Baptiste has 21 receptions, which is almost halfway to the school record of 50 set by Rashad Hawk in 2006, and his 388 receiving yards place him 577 yards shy of tying Charles Tillman’s milestone 965-yard 1998 campaign.

Although the high-octane, passing approach seen over the last two weeks is historically uncommon in Copperas Cove, Harris believes it could sustain long-term success.

“We just changed our offense, and the coaches trust all of us,” he said. “We have great leadership in this group and that is pretty much (what it takes).”

Mistakes hurt Kangaroos

Despite a 225-yard team rushing performance led by Daniel McCants, and posting 123 fewer penalty yards than their opponent, the Roos lost Friday night to Leander Vandegrift.

The Roos (0-2) accrued a minus-4 turnover ratio in the 36-29 loss at Leo Buckley Stadium.Vandegrift had no turnovers, and 19 penalties for 143 yards, while Killeen lost two fumbles, threw two interceptions, and committed two penalties for 20 yards.

Vandegrift converted all its takeaways, racking up 24 points en route to their second win.

Garrett Gaskamp threw for 192 yards and one touchdown in the season opener against New Braunfels Canyon, but the Roos also gave four turnovers to the Cougars.

“We’re a young team up front, and it’s showing up right now,” Killeen coach Sam Jones said. “Nobody wants to fumble, everybody wants to do the best they can do. ... Everything that we did wrong can be fixed. That’s the good part about it.”

Friday’s loss was Killeen’s fourth straight.

Belton’s home loss is first in three seasons

A season-opening 56-46 shootout loss wounded the Belton Tigers Friday night, as Round Rock Stony Point (2-0) used a balanced attack to amass 25 first downs and 509 total yards.

Belton hadn’t fallen at the 9,000-capacity Tiger Field since Sept. 24, 2010, when they faced powerhouse Copperas Cove.  

Belton led through much of the first half and at halftime, but put up no points in the third quarter. Stony Point’s Aidan Barrera got all three of his rushing touchdowns in the second half, and put up 119 yards on 12 carries.

Belton’s 424 rushing yards were not enough. Running back Kavon Johnson posted 21 rushes for 211 yards with 10.1 yards per carry, and quarterback Shane Stafford ran for 126 yards on 17 carries with a 7.4-yard average.

Ellison offense anemic against Manor

The Eagles simply could not move the ball. Regardless of whether they attacked via the air or on the ground, nothing worked for Ellison as it finished with 80 total yards in a 34-14 loss to 4A No. 15 Manor (2-0). The defeat was the team’s 22nd consecutive loss.

In the first half, Ellison (0-2) finished with negative yardage and just one first down. Making matters worse, the Eagles collected 50 yards worth of penalties before halftime.

Running back Sedderian Chambers delivered Ellison’s best outing, rushing 15 times for 63 yards, but four other players finished with negative rushing yards, giving the team a 0.63 yards-per-carry average.  Junior quarterback Jacob Ledford (6-8-2-42) was responsible for the Eagles’ lone offensive scoring drive in the third quarter after replacing starter Trenton Jones, who was injured during Ellison’s first possession.

Harker Heights goes quiet after halftime again

Harker Heights possesses enough offense to win games, but so far, the Knights have been unable to sustain it.

Over the first two games of the season, Harker Heights has been outscored 63-19 in the second half, causing the Knights to completely blow healthy halftime advantages before eventually losing each game.  

After opening the season with a 10-point second half in a 47-31 loss to Stony Point, Harker Heights allowed Round Rock to climb out of a 28-10 halftime hole to win 40-37. In each defeat, Harker Heights’ offense was flat in the third quarter, failing to produce a touchdown either time.

Nevertheless, Knights quarterback Troy Smith continues to shine under center. Smith was 10 of 19 for 249 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 26 yards and a touchdown.  Last week, Smith accounted for 333 total yards and three touchdowns.

Temple falls in another shootout

Temple won a shootout in the season opener. Now the Wildcats know how it feels to lose one as well.

One week after beating Round Rock 48-42, Temple had its heart broken by Austin Westlake 45-41, negating another strong passing performance from first-year quarterback Chad President.

The junior completed 20 of 28 passes for 242 yards, but did not deliver a touchdown and had two interceptions, including one that was returned 65 yards for a touchdown in the first half.

Like President, Temple running back Jeff Carr had a solid outing, but turnovers ruined his showing. The junior ran for 197 yards on 29 carries and scored a touchdown, but his two third-quarter fumbles led to a pair of Chaparral touchdown drives within a 38-second span.

Last season, Temple beat Westlake 49-42 at Wildcat Stadium.

Shoemaker redeems itself

After getting drubbed 37-14 at Waco in the season opener, the Grey Wolves bounced back Saturday night at Leo Buckley Stadium against Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, winning 48-20.

Grey Wolf Rayshun Spearman averaged 17.9 yards rushing, with eight carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Ziere Banner showed a dual threat, passing for 11 completions, 136 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing 23 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns.

A 14-9 halftime lead broke wide open after Shoemaker outscored the Tigres 21-3 in the third quarter.

The Shoemaker defense held tough, too, holding the Nuevo Leon offense to four field goals.

The only touchdown the Grey Wolves allowed was a Jose Ramirez pass to Abiel Westrup at the end of the game.


  • Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (0-2) at Copperas Cove (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Over the last three years, the Bulldawgs have dominated the Tigers, outscoring the team from Mexico 162-22.
  • Harker Heights (0-2) at Cedar Park (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Knights will be dealing with an angry giant after the Timberwolves lost for the first time in 15 games as Abilene Cooper upset the defending Division II-4A champions last week.
  • Waco (1-1) at Ellison (0-2),7:30 p.m. Friday (Buckley Stadium): The Eagles’ losing streak sits at 22 games and could be extended yet again if they cannot handle the Lions’ two-headed quarterback attack of Traynham Moore and Derrick Scott.
  • Southlake Carroll (1-1) at Temple (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday at Baylor: The Wildcats are averaging 44.5 points per game and they might be headed for another shootout after the Dragons beat Midland Lee 63-14 last week.
  • Killeen (0-2), idle: The Roos look to regroup after a loss to New Braunfels Canyon in Week 0, and after giving up a 13-point lead to Leander Vandegrift in Week 1.
  • Belton (0-1) at Bryan (1-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: Belton looks to improve upon its 1-4 away record last year, against a Bryan, which hosted and beat Magnolia last week.
  • Shoemaker (1-1) at Round Rock Stony Point (2-0), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Grey Wolves face off against a team that has already beaten two teams in District 8-5A: Harker Heights and Belton.


  • 15 — Minutes into the game before Waco earned a first down against Copperas Cove.
  • 19 — Completions (in 21 attempts) for Round Rock quarterback Collin Hinson against Harker Heights.
  • 5 — Shoemaker players who scored Saturday against Nuevo Leon.
  • 4 — Ellison players to finish with negative rushing yardage against Manor.
  • 1,081 — Days since Belton’s last home loss.
  • 4:1 — Killeen’s turnover-to-takeaway ratio through two games.
  • 18 — Penalties committed by Temple (for 131 yards), including 14 for 108 in the second half.

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