Expect the gloves to come off when Killeen visits Shoemaker at Hood Stadium at 7:30 tonight.

Last week against Heights, the Kangaroos had multiple chances to close upon their game-long deficit, but a fumble, a muffed punt, a touchdown-nullifying hold and an interception in the game’s closing seconds kept Killeen a lance’s length away from the Knights.

“We’ve got to do a better job of controlling the football,” said Killeen coach Sam Jones. “When we get in the red zone, we got to score.”

Last week, Heights moved eight defenders into the box to stop Killeen’s formidable rushing attack, and held senior running back Daniel McCants to 60 yards.

Behind for most of the game, Killeen frequently opted to throw, as quarterback Garrett Gaskamp completed 16 of 34 passes for 304 yards.

The Grey Wolves could benefit from a pass-heavy attack, as Shoemaker senior defensive back Dewayne Williams has a district-high seven interceptions this season.

Killeen could establish its identity as a legitimate playoff contender with a win tonight.

At 1-1, the team is in the thick of the playoff race, tied with three other teams. A win could set the tone for the remainder of the season.

If Shoemaker wants to make a playoff run, now is the time to start.

Although the Grey Wolves are 0-2 in district play, only two teams — Waco Midway and Belton — are undefeated. With a win tonight, Shoemaker would firmly plant its foot in the mix for a lower playoff spot.

The Grey Wolves aren’t practicing with Killeen in mind.

“We’re preparing for us, working on us right now, make sure we’re doing things right, not blowing assignments and getting better,” said Shoemaker coach Channon Hall. “That’s our main focus, is us getting better as a team.”

Tonight’s matchup juxtaposes two dangerous threats — McCants and Shoemaker senior quarterback Ziere Banner.

McCants’ 831 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns lead District 8-5A, while Banner’s 549 rushing yards rank fourth and his 1,247 passing yards rank third among district play makers.

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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