Jeff Carr did almost everything he wanted to, but he does not want to take the credit.
After scoring two touchdowns and finishing with 199 rushing yards in a 51-39 victory at Copperas Cove, Temple’s junior running back praised his teammates.
“(The offensive line) was really dominating up front,” Carr said. “They made it easy on me, along with the receivers blocking down field. That’s makes it easy for me because I like getting in the open field. That’s when I do work by making people miss.”
Carr was also on the receiving end of a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chase Truelove, who added 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, as the Wildcats beat the Bulldawgs for the first time since 2003 while clinching a playoff berth.
As a team, Temple — District 8-5A’s top rushing team — finished with 418 yards on the ground, including Carr’s 72-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to pull the Wildcats within three points, 12-9, after Copperas Cove scored a dozen unanswered points to start the game.
Like Carr, Bulldawgs head coach Jack Welch pointed to Temple’s offensive line as a primary reason for its success.
“Their offensive line created some big holes,” he said. “I thought our kids played hard, but that was the difference in the game.”
Temple claimed its first lead at 16-12 with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter on Marques Hatcher’s first of two touchdown runs.
Hatcher just missed giving the Wildcats’ three 100-yard rushers, finishing with 97 and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries.
The teams went into halftime tied 30-30 and the Bulldawgs held a 33-30 advantage early in the third quarter, but Temple’s defense held Copperas Cove scoreless until Manny Harris found Derrick Giles for a 14-yard touchdown with 1:16 left.
By then, however, the outcome was already determined.
“Looking back at the second half, we only gave up three points until late in the football game,” Temple head coach Mike Spradlin said.
“Of course, offensively, I thought we did a good job moving the football. All around, I just thought we played a really good football game.”
Ellison struggles against Roos defense
The Ellison Eagles came into Leo Buckley Stadium with a ball-control offense, but it was the Killeen Kangaroos who controlled the pace of the game and the momentum in a 33-17 win.
Whether it was a fumble recovery, sack or interception, the Roo defense stonewalled the Eagles offense whenever Ellison had a chance to keep some of its momentum.
“That’s the key,” said Killeen head coach Sam Jones. “We just continue to get better, continue to play together on defense (and) I think we’ll be OK.”
Ellison (0-9, 0-6 8-5A) gained 265 yards of total offense, 6 yards above its season average, but Killeen forced six timely turnovers and scored 21 points.
After the Roos (3-6, 3-3) took an early 7-0 lead, Killeen defensive tackle Derrick Howard rushed Ellison quarterback Jacob Ledford, was able to knock the ball loose and recovered the fumble on the Ellison 21.
Killeen scored its second touchdown on the ensuing drive.
“Without them, we wouldn’t be in the game,” Killeen senior quarterback Garrett Gaskamp said. “We scored once or twice in the second half. It was big, they came out big for us.”
Ellison was able to pick up a couple of first downs and drive to the Killeen 40 on its next drive, but Killeen linebacker Peyton Searcy drilled Ellison running back Vincent Lobendahn to force a fumble that was recovered by the Roos.
Killeen extended its lead to 21-0 four plays later.
After Ellison cut the lead to 21-9, the Eagles had a chance to make it a single-digit game before halftime, driving to the Roo 30 before Bryan Parker intercepted a Ledford pass at the 30 and returned it to the Eagles 28.
“They were crucial,” Ellison head coach Trent Gregory said about the turnovers. “That hurt us a little bit. We’ve got to take care of the football and we’ve got to be very disciplined with that.”
Cepedro Thomas’ touchdown run from 3 yards out sent Killeen to halftime with a 28-9.
— Albert Alvarado
Heights victim of furious rally for second straight game
For the second consecutive week, Harker Heights did what it needed to do to grab a first-half lead against one of the top two teams in District 8-5A.
And for the second week in a row, that team responded by burying the Knights with a flurry of points.
Heights went up 14-10 against 8-5A co-leader Waco Midway on an 18-yard scramble by Troy Smith at the 9:08 mark in the second quarter, the second touchdown of the game for the junior signal caller.
A week earlier Heights went up 7-0 against Temple by scoring a touchdown on the game-opening drive.
On Friday, Midway responded by putting up 14 points in 10 seconds thanks to a 13-yard screen pass from Ben Hicks to Xavier Hailey, followed by a muff on the ensuing kickoff.
Hicks then hit a wide-open Jayson Clements on the next play for a 20-yard touchdown and a lead the Panthers never relinquished.
“They’re a good football team — they’re Midway,” Heights coach Jerry Edwards said. “I talked to the kids (and said) you can’t have any mistakes, you’ve got to play mistake free, and we didn’t play mistake free.”
— Jordan Mason
Seven-minute stretch propels Shoemaker to a win
Last week the Shoemaker Grey Wolves (6-3, 4-2) defense helped out with a defensive touchdown in a 7-3 win of Waco Midway.
On Friday, it was the Shoemaker offense that broke through in a big way.
Facing the district’s worst offense in Belton (2-7, 2-4), Shoemaker scored 27 unanswered points to beat the Tigers 62-42.
But the most crucial stretch came in the last five minutes of the third and first two minutes of the fourth.
Shoemaker quarterback Ziere Banner found Nahome Anderson for a touchdown that tied the game at 42-42 with 4:39 remaining in the third.
After forcing a Belton punt, Dwayne Williams returned it 33 yards and set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Banner that gave Shoemaker the lead.
Rayshun Spearman extended the Shoemaker lead to 56-42 on a 93-yard touchdown run with 10:19 remaining.
— Albert Alvarado
- Copperas Cove (5-4, 3-3 8-5A) at Harker Heights (2-7, 2-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday (Hood Stadium): The Bulldawgs must win to have an opportunity to reach the playoffs for a 10th consecutive season. Unless all the stars align perfectly, the Knights are merely playing for pride in the regular season finale.
- Killeen (3-6, 3-3 8-5A) at Temple (6-3, 5-1), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Wildcats can clinch at least a share of the district championship with a victory and could earn the title outright if Midway loses at Belton. Killeen advances to the postseason with a victory. Temple won a 63-56 shootout last season.
- Shoemaker (6-3,4-2) at Ellison (0-9, 0-6), 7:30 p.m. Friday (Buckley Stadium): Shoemaker enters this game looking to clinch the second playoff berth in school history while Ellison enters looking to avoid its third straight winless season. Shoemaker won last season’s contest 27-14.
- Waco Midway (7-2, 5-1 8-5A) at Belton (2-7, 2-4), 7:30 p.m. Friday: The Tigers are all but out of the playoff race, but can end the season on a positive note by taking down the defending district champion.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 16 — Temple plays of 15 or more yards in Friday’s 51-39 win at Copperas Cove. RB Jeff Carr was involved in six.
- 27 — Unanswered points scored by Shoemaker against Belton in Friday’s 62-42 victory.
- 6 — Turnovers forced by Killeen against Ellison in the Roos’ 33-17 win.
- 10 — Seconds it took Midway to go from traiiing by four to leading by 10 in the first half of a 45-21 win over Harker Heights.
- 6 — Touchdowns for Shoemaker quarterback Ziere Banner on Friday (three rushing, three passing).
Contact Clay Whittington at email@example.com