Harker Heights is fully aware that 7-on-7 is far from the games that will decide district titles and state championships in the fall.
Knights head coach Jerry Edwards and his staff remind the Heights players of that on a regular basis.
But you can’t blame the Knights for feeling good about the way the 7-on-7 round robins between Killeen ISD teams are going after Heights went undefeated for the second straight week Tuesday at Ellison.
And while the Knights understand it isn’t the real deal, they still feel that they are progressing this offseason thanks to these round robins, where they have an overall record of 8-1.
“People are going to say it’s not important to the actual Aug. 30 (season opener), but we feel like right now it’s getting our cohesion, our timing right for our offense so that we can go execute on Aug. 30,” senior Josh Ellis said. “So while some people try to downplay it, I feel like we’re trying to make the most of the situation — that’s why we’re out here giving it all we’ve got.”
Heights wasn’t the only team with reason for optimism Tuesday.
Ellison went 2-1 against the field on its home turf after going 1-2 a week before.
Yet despite the improvement, the Eagles were more eager to get rid of that one loss than celebrate the two wins, when it was all said and done.
“I felt like we did good, but it’s still not enough,” senior Deon Burch said. “I honestly think that we had the skill to beat every single one of them, we’re just working out mistakes.”
But Burch was encouraged by the improvement and said the Eagles must continue pressing forward
together if they hope to maintain that trend.
“Stay together as a team,” Burch said, “that’s all we care about right now.”
Chemistry was a common point of emphasis after the round robin was over as Keondre Parker of Killeen and Corey Wilson of Shoemaker both said their respective teams also needed to improve in that aspect.
After going 2-1 last week, Shoemaker went 1-2 on Tuesday, but Wilson still felt the Grey Wolves were moving in a positive direction overall.
Parker, however, said it was time for he and his teammates to step up after going winless for the second straight week.
Killeen went undefeated in the first week of the round robin but has gone winless the last two weeks as Parker said the Roos need better chemistry to get the job done.
“We’ve got to work every day,” Parker said. “Only a few people are showing up to work, not everybody’s showing up to work, and a team can’t win together if they don’t work together.”
Ellis, meanwhile, said he feels like Heights is improving every week chemistry-wise.
And while these 7-on-7 games don’t count in the standings, Ellis said he believes what the Knights are building in 7-on-7 play is only going to help them when the games do start counting in the fall.
“Way more than last year, I feel like we’re a unit, we’re a family, we’ve got each other’s backs,” Ellis said. “They aren’t really any individuals on this team, and I think that’s what makes us dangerous next year.”