In his office, Celneque Bobbitt has a picture of himself posterizing a poor Ellison opponent in his final home game against the Eagles as a Killeen Kangaroo.
After his Harker Heights team completed a lopsided victory against Killeen on Friday, it didn’t take long for the emotions of facing his alma mater to be replaced by the passion of facing his old rival.
“I get emotional when I get to Killeen High, but when we’re playing Ellison, that’s the doggy dog,” Bobbitt said, voice rising. “That’s no emotion, that’s guard your grill and knuckle up.”
Like Bobbitt, his players also have a bit of extra motivation heading into a rematch with the Eagles on Tuesday.
Heights’ district opener against Ellison, the No. 13 Knights’ only district loss, was a nightmare they haven’t forgotten.
“We came out really bad,” Knight senior Josh DeLaney recalled. “(They went up) 8-0, we did not play any defense, they got a 15-point lead.”
Heights battled back in that game, but ultimately fell for just the second time all season at that point.
But a lot has changed since that game.
Heights hasn’t lost a district game since and is currently in first place in District 8-5A.
Ellison, meanwhile, is two games behind the Knights, and the Eagles have gone 4-6 overall since.
Yet that hasn’t changed the sense of urgency on the Knights’ side.
“It’s a must-win situation,” senior Cameron DeLaney said. “We need to do what the coaches tell us to do in practice and go out during the game and execute, and we don’t need to get caught up in our emotions and just play.”
And like the Eagles, the Knights have yet to lose at home this season and hope to keep it that way.
“This game, we’re going to be ready to play,” Josh DeLaney said. “They’re coming to our house and we’re going to protect our house, we’re not losing at home this season at all.”
And while Heights is riding high after a 68-42 win against Killeen, the Knights’ sixth straight in league play, Bobbitt knows his team will have to be on its game if it wants to have a fond memory of battling Ellison like the one he has hanging in his office.
“In 1990, I knew we were ready,” Bobbitt said. “The last time I played Ellison it was 51-19 at halftime. It was 100-45 to end the game.
“So, you got to be ready.”
Contact Jordan Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7562